Reports of looting and fiery protests are circulating in Venezuela as government offices close their doors for the rest of the week in the face of a worsening energy crisis that is causing daily blackouts.

President Nicolas Maduro announced late Tuesday that the socialist country would be slashing the work week for public employees to save power. Millions of officials will work only Monday and Tuesday for at least two weeks.

Local media reported widespread protests in towns around the country following the announcements, with fiery barricades and people looting bread and other scarce food.

The administration says the water level behind the nation's largest dam has fallen to near its minimum operating level thanks to a severe drought. Experts say lack of planning and maintenance is also to blame.