Venezuela continues to suffer from electricity supply problems, President Hugo Chavez said, adding that the situation would be worse if he had never been elected.
"I know that still here in the state of Bolivar, and above all in Ciudad Bolivar, there are serious problems, serious flaws in electrical energy. I know it, and also here, in San Felix ... Well, and in almost all of Venezuela!" Chavez said at a campaign rally Saturday in Sal Felix, a town in the southeastern part of the country.
"Despite the gigantic efforts the government has made ... we still have not finished recovering, building a national electrical system," Chavez said.
The Venezuelan president defended the investment plan that has been carried out by his government, which in 2010 found itself facing a severe electricity crisis that paralyzed sectors of the economy.
Still, in many parts of the country, power outages are common.
Chavez, who has been in power since 1999, blamed the lack of investment during the 1980s and 1990s for the national electrical system's current shortcomings.
"If the revolution had not come, today Venezuela would be turned off. I think we could be using lanterns and cooking with firewood ... We'd be like in prehistory," Chavez said.
Large thermo-electrical plants and substations are being built as part of the Angostura energy project and millions of dollars are being invested in the power grid, the president said.
"The big Guri dam was at risk of shutting down for lack of maintenance, and we're repairing it, ... a comprehensive repair to make it like new (with) four machines," Chavez said, referring to the dam located in the southeast that generates 70 percent of Venezuela's electricity.
Venezuela, according to figures compiled by the Electrical Energy Ministry, currently has a power production capacity of about 25 gigawatts.
The former electrical energy minister, Ali Rodriguez, last year "self-critically" acknowledged mistakes in the maintenance of the country's electricity transmission and distribution system, saying it had contributed to the problems of supplying electricity nationwide. EFE