Power blackout hits 70% of Venezuela

2013-09-04 09:01
A fan looks at his laptop as he waits for play to resume at a FIBA World Cup qualifying basketball game, during a power outage, in Caracas,Venezuela. (File, AP)

A fan looks at his laptop as he waits for play to resume at a FIBA World Cup qualifying basketball game, during a power outage, in Caracas,Venezuela. (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Caracas - Venezuela's main power distribution network failed on Tuesday, depriving 70% of the country of electricity and creating traffic chaos in much of Caracas, which normally escapes such outages.

Electrical Energy Minister Jesse Chacon said on state TV that the failure was in the "backbone" that carries electricity from the Bajo Caroni region, where 60% of Venezuela's power is generated.

President Nicolas Maduro said on Tuesday night that 14 of 23 states lost power for much of the day and blamed "sabotage," which he did not detail. He said service was "progressively restored" with some exceptions, including the oil-producing state of Zulia.

Power that was lost at midday was restored in Caracas by nightfall.

Despite possessing the world's largest proven oil reserves, Venezuela has been plagued in recent years by worsening power outages. They have, however, rarely affected metropolitan Caracas, home to more than one-sixth of the country's 28 million people.

Maduro said the oil industry, the lifeblood of the economy, was not affected by the outage. He blamed "the extreme right-wing," as he has in the past, via Twitter.

In an evening event broadcast on state TV, he claimed the outage was "part of a low-level war" on what his government refers to as "the revolution" begun by the late President Hugo Chavez, Maduro's political mentor. He provided no evidence of any sabotage.

Maduro said he had ordered the military to "protect the entire country".

The capital's subway service was temporarily interrupted, and authorities evacuated riders from several trains.

Opposition politicians say the government, while spending billions on programs for the poor, hasn't invested sufficiently in the electrical grid and generating plants to keep up with growing demand.

Authorities say delays in several initiatives designed to boost electricity output are partly to blame.

Chacon, a long-time close aide to Chavez, was named energy minister after Maduro won election in April. The previous energy minister was a brother of Chavez, Argenis.

Chavez died in March after 14 years in power. Maduro was his long-time foreign minister and later, while Chavez was dying of cancer, his vice president.

Read more on:    hugo chavez  |  nicolas maduro  |  venezuela

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.