UPDATE 1-Power blackout plunges Caracas, other cities into darkness -residents

Mon Dec 2, 2013 8:24pm EST

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CARACAS Dec 2 (Reuters) - A power blackout plunged the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, and other cities around the nation into darkness on Monday night, residents said.

Venezuela has been suffering periodic electricity cuts around the country for several years, although the capital has been spared the worst problems.

The blackouts, often due to power rationing or utility failures, have not affected the OPEC member's oil refineries, which are powered by separate generator plants.

In September, when a blackout hit several cities, President Nicolas Maduro said that his political opponents may have been behind the difficulty. He had the armed forces called out to help ensure security while power was restored. (Reporting by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Philip Barbara)

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