Power cuts hit Venezuela's west, cutting air conditioning during heat wave

Daily power cuts have returned to west-central Venezuela, shutting air conditioners during a heat wave and hitting factories, households and utilities as poorly maintained thermal plants fail to compensate for weak hydroelectric generation, residents, engineers and analysts said, News.az reports citing Reuters.

"It is inhumane that in a city like this they cut our power during the hottest hours," said 42-year-old housewife Mariana Barboza in Maracaibo, where temperatures typically surpass 40 °C (about 104 °F) this time of year. "We have bad nights, kids cry and mosquitoes abound. They are killing us slowly."

Lengthy power cuts had been avoided in recent years due to lower demand and investments by President Nicolas Maduro's government in deteriorated power transmission and distribution lines. But outages have returned, even affecting capital Caracas, which has traditionally shielded from interruptions.

Residents said the cuts last at least four hours per day. The OPEC country's average temperature has risen 4 degrees Celsius this year, figures disclosed by Maduro last month showed.

The hotter weather has reduced water volume in hydro-electric dams while boosting demand for air conditioning, leading to intermittent public water supply, unstable electricity at factories and oil operations and telecommunications black-outs.

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