CARACAS, Venezuela, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Venezuela's Guri hydroelectric dam has not reached its optimum performance water level months after the end of a nationwide electricity rationing program, which could return in 2017.
The water level at the Guri dam measured 262.89 meters in late September. The optimum performance water level for the dam is 271 meters and experts do not believe the dam will increase its water level significantly in the near future now that the rainy season is over.
El Nacional reports electricity rationing could return in 2017. Earlier this year, President Nicolas Maduro ordered a 40-day program to ration electricity to four hours a day in 10 of 23 states.
Venezuela depends on hydroelectric power for about 60 percent of energy needs but an ongoing drought critically deteriorated the hydroelectric infrastructure output.
Critics of Maduro's government say government inefficiency, lack of maintenance and lack of investment have exacerbated the problem.
Maduro previously called on large electricity consumers, such as malls and manufacturing companies, to generate about 20 percent of their own electricity.
The Guri hydroelectric plant in Bolívar state, which supplies the country with 63 percent of its hydroelectric power, in April was less than 10 feet from dipping to a critically low water level.
Valdemar Andrade, a meteorological engineer who previously helped run the Guri dam, said seasonal rains fell short of increasing the reservoir's water level, El Pitazo reports.