Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has announced the start of a plan for electricity rationing that will last 30 days amid the frequent power blackouts since last month that has cripple the South American nation.
"I approved a 30-day plan to go to a load management system (rationing)," Maduro said on Sunday in his first TV appearance since the latest power outage on March 25 affected the entire country.
The embattled leader reiterated that the instability of the electric power supply is due to alleged attacks on the system carried out by the opposition and the administration of US President Donald Trump, who he said wants to "lead the country to chaos, violence", Efe news reported.
"The attack went directly to the generation system and affected the generation capacity (of the country's main hydroelectric dam, Guri)," he said, pointing out that on March 25, the facility was shot at with long-range rifles that ended up damaging several pieces of equipment.
In addition, the President said the authorities are investigating a possible infiltration of the electric service "that could be working as a mole to cause damage from within".
He indicated that they have been able to re-establish the electricity supply "in some places longer than others" with almost all of Caracas reconnected as well as many of the southern and eastern states.
Meanwhile, in the west of the oil-rich country the power supply remains "intermittent" and some communities go up to 72 hours without electricity.
According to Maduro, the constant sabotage has been aggravated by the high temperatures that help the "arson" caused by the "terrorists".
"We are in a serious situation... We have been managing a very serious situation," the Venezuelan president said after reiterating that his government is making progress in restoring the potable water supply throughout the country.
"These are the attacks of an electric war to drive this country crazy, to drive the people crazy, and we will not allow it. We are concentrated (...) on replacing, recovering, rebuilding everything that has been damaged by this electric war and to restore gradually in a self-administered regime, the electric service to our people," he said.
Maduro called on citizens to show "maximum resistance, maximum patience" and to "uphold peace".
The President's announcement came after thousands of people took to the streets on Sunday across the country to protest against the power outages.