July 23, 2019 / 12:57 PM / a month ago

Power returns to Caracas but other Venezuelan states still in the dark

A general view is seen during a blackout in Caracas, Venezuela July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelans in Caracas woke up on Tuesday with the lights back on after the worst blackout since March knocked out power in half the country a day earlier, though service remained down in other states and cities.

State power company Corpoelec, in a statement early on Tuesday, said states were recovering service and power had fully returned to Caracas. Tuesday’s blackout left over half of Venezuela’s 23 states in the dark.

Reuters witnesses in the central states of Carabobo and Aragua, along with Lara to the west, said power was still out, preventing residents from accessing running water or phone service.

In some areas, the shortage of cooking gas meant the only way to prepare meals was to burn firewood.

President Nicolas Maduro’s government told Venezuelans not to go to work or school on Tuesday to “help the process of reconnection.”

Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said the outage on Monday was caused by an “electromagnetic attack,” without providing evidence, and echoing similar allegations the government made during blackouts earlier this year.

The opposition, along with power experts, instead note that Venezuela’s national power grid has fallen into serious disrepair after years of inadequate investment and maintenance under Maduro’s socialist administration.

Reporting by Vivian Sequera in Caracas, Tibisay Romero in Valencia, Maria Ramirez in Puerto Ordaz, Mircely Guanipa in Maracay, Keren Torres in Barquisimeto; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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