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Deepening power-supply crisis threatens the Venezuelan economy

Rolling blackouts have been imposed throughout the country outside the capital, Caracas, to slow down the rate of decline in the Guri hydro-electric reservoir, the source of two-thirds of Venezuela's power. Because of a drought, rainfall has been far less than expected, leading the dam operator to say the country's electricity system could collapse by April. Water levels at the dam are around 258 metres above sea level, but if the reservoir falls to 240 metres above sea level, turbines at the generating station must begin to be shut down. The result would be serious power shortages throughout the country. In 2003, a drought reduced the Guri dam's reservoir levels significantly, but the coun

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