The government has not ruled out suspending operations at state-owned aluminium plants and steel mills as part of measures for energy conservation.

The Guri hydroelectric dam in the southern state of Bolivar generates 73% of the electricity consumed in Venezuela. Its level is going down by as much as 75mm a day caused by the severe drought.

The Venezuelan government said it will shut certain production lines of basic industries to save 558MW of electricity per day.

Venezuela is facing a power crisis that President Hugo Chavez blamed on the drought affecting the country and the ‘wastefulness’ of consumers.

The Venezuelan government had already announced the closure of its two facilities at the Alcasa aluminium plant which will save 58MW/h. Production lines at Velamun aluminium and two furnaces at the Sidor steel complex were also closed.