President Hugo Chavez has signed a decree declaring an “electricity emergency” to help his government tackle power shortages. Speaking on his new radio show Chavez said Venezuela, which depends heavily on hydropower, was facing the worst drought in 100 years. Heavy energy users will get a discount if they cut consumption but face price rises if their usage does not fall. Rolling blackouts are already in force in parts of Venezuela. President Chavez announced on Feb. 8  that he had signed a decree authorizing Energy Minister Ali Rodriguez to take the necessary measures to guarantee the electricity supply. “The truth is, it’s an emergency,” he said. Although Venezuela has big oil reserves, it is dependent on hydro-electricity for some 70percent of its power.  (BBC)

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