Caracas, Mar 27 (EFE).- A National Electric System (SEN) equipment failure that occurred Wednesday morning has prolonged the power outage that started earlier this week in Venezuela, Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said Wednesday.
“Today, at 5:04 in the morning, due to the fact that we have not yet been able to put the equipment damaged by the terrorist attack into operation, there was a failure in a power line that created instability in the system and a loss of power in part of the national territory,” Rodriguez told state-owned VTV.
Millions of people woke up across Venezuela without electricity on Wednesday, the second straight day that the power has been out in the South American country.
Electric service has been out in almost all areas of the petroleum-producing nation since Monday.
The power is out across most of the 23 states in Venezuela, which has the largest petroleum reserves in the world.
On Tuesday, President Nicolas Maduro’s administration said the nationwide blackout that forced businesses and schools to suspend operations was caused by “terrorist attacks” on the grid, including arson at the Guri Dam, which supplies nearly 70 percent of Venezuela’s electricity.
Wednesday morning’s outage happened while equipment damaged in the “attack” earlier this week was “being repaired,” the communications minister said.
Rodriguez said workers from state-owned electric utility Corpoelec managed to restore power “in record time,” but the flow of electricity is only partial and intermittent.
“By nine in the morning, we had managed to restore power to a large part of the capital region and we’re going to continue step by step in the electric distribution process until all the equipment damaged by terrorism is functioning,” the communications minister said.
As of 11:00 a.m., the capital region and southern Venezuela “had electric service,” Rodriguez said.
Reports on social media, however, said those areas were still without power.
The latest power outage comes almost three weeks after the massive blackout that Venezuela experienced on March 7 that kept virtually the whole country in the dark for five days until the government managed to regain control of the situation and restore electric service.
The government said at the time that sabotage at the Guri hydroelectric complex was to blame for the blackout.
Maduro directly blamed the United States and the opposition for the alleged sabotage, claiming that “electromagnetic” attacks had been staged on the electric grid.
The opposition, however, blamed the Maduro regime for failures in the system, saying that the government’s poor management of the grid was the real cause of the outage.
The earlier blackout caused about 15 deaths due to the lack of electricity at Venezuelan hospitals, the opposition claims, while officials contend that just two people died.