The event was organized by the Energy Ministry in collaboration with the state-run electricity company Corpoelec with the intention of raising consciousness regarding energy use, especially in the country’s youth.
“It’s important that the little ones in the house begin to understand the relevance of energy saving at an international and national level. They need to see it as an important aspect of the formation of ‘the new man’ and in that way make a commitment to themselves and society”, said the Vice Minister of Energy Use, Hector Constant.
Venezuela ranks number one in per capita energy consumption in Latin America, evidencing what the Venezuelan News Agency (AVN) has referred to as a “squandering” and “lack of awareness in the population on energy production costs”.
A report released by the Ministry of Electric Energy in 2011 detailed this consumption, pointing out that that the average Venezuelan consumes 85 percent more than her Brazilian counterpart, 25 percent more than in Argentina, and 254 percent more than the average Colombian.
Much of the problem is associated with the high use of airconditioning units, especially in commercial establishments. Indeed, some shopping centers such as the Galeria Mall in the city of Maracaibo, which has average high temperatures well over 90 degrees, offers its clients the opportunity to skate on the facility’s own ice-rink.
But the problem, according to officials, is also linked to the energy use of average Venezuelans. To combat the excess, the government has been embarking on a series of new cut-back measures that have been planned in conjunction with its public awareness campaigns.
These measures, some of which have been passed as laws by the country’s congress, include restricting the importation and commercialization of specific electric appliances that display high energy use.
“Being a responsible actor, the state will have to prioritize the most efficient appliances and discourage the importation of those devices which are not efficient. It will also have to be on guard to not receive from any country appliances which are of low quality or obsolete”,
Vice Minister Constant said. As a further way of reducing energy consumption, the Chavez administration has also been distributing energy conserving light bulbs that use 80 percent less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs.
Since 2006, the government has distributed 150 million such light bulbs with another 18 million for planned distribution through the first trimester of 2013. According to Constant, initiatives such as these are beginning to have an important effect in the consciousness of the people.
As a consequence, national consumption has been reduced by close to 2,000 Megawatts over the past year and it is estimated that the new light bulbs will provide a further savings of between 500 and 1,000 additional megawatts.
“We all need to become advocates of the importance of energy conservation so that it becomes widespread around the world”, the Vice Minister affirmed on Sunday.