Venezuela’s energy crisis hinges on a single dam

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CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela is at risk of a devastating power collapse that could also pose a serious political threat to President Hugo Chavez.

The South American country relies on a single hydroelectric dam for most of its electricity and drought has swiftly brought the dam’s levels to dangerous lows.

Chavez on Friday said his government is determined to keep Guri Dam from falling to a critical level that would cause its electricity-generating turbines to fail.

He has also imposed rationing measures including penalty fees for energy overuse, shorter workdays for many public employees and reduced hours for shopping malls.

The Guri Dam supplies 73 percent of Venezuela’s electricity.