Another blackout hit various states across Venezuela on Thursday in an irritation for locals and embarrassment for President Nicolas Maduro’s government which runs the electricity sector.
The South American OPEC member nation has been suffering increasing power cuts in recent years which critics jump on as evidence of mismanagement by the socialist authorities.
The government has in the past often blamed saboteurs for the cuts, but Electricity Minister Jesse Chacon was quick to attribute the latest blackout to problems at generating plants in the western Andean region of Venezuela.
“We want to apologize to Venezuelans for this nuisance. Everything is under control,” he told state TV, adding that at least eight of Venezuela’s 23 states were affected.
“The recovery is beginning,” he added, predicting services would be restored around the nation within two hours.
Residents in various parts of Caracas said their electricity had gone out, while local newspaper Ultimas Noticias said on its website the blackout was affecting 13 states.
Opposition politicians say the government has been negligent in maintaining and investing in the power grid since the 2007 nationalization of the sector by then-President Hugo Chavez.
Officials scoff at that and have accused right-wing activists of sabotaging lines.
Past outages, include a massive one on June 27, have interrupted live TV speeches by Maduro.
Many Venezuelans across the political spectrum ask why they suffer continuous power problems when their nation has the world’s largest oil reserves.