Power failure plunges western Cuba into darkness

Associated Press Modified: September 10, 2012 at 5:00 am •  Published: September 10, 2012

HAVANA (AP) — Millions of people were plunged into darkness after power went out across a large swath of western Cuba.

The outage affected a wide area including the capital, home to about 2 million people, and the popular beach resort of Varadero.

On a humid, sweltering, late-summer Caribbean night, it knocked out air-conditioning units and electrical fans.

"We were on our balcony waiting for our TV program," said Richard Laredo, a 47-year-old Havana resident who quickly transferred food from the refrigerator to the freezer. "Nobody knows what happened, but people are worried about what they have in their refrigerators."

There was no immediate word on what caused the blackout, which struck a little after 8 p.m. in the middle of the nightly news broadcast on state television.

Calls to the electrical system's headquarters met busy signals. Officials in the national government were not immediately able to offer an explanation.

Electricity began coming back on after about five hours in Havana.

State radio said power was gradually being restored and urged people not to use power-hungry appliances.

Other cities in central and eastern Cuba also had brief outages.

Havana's international airport reported that it had power and was continuing operations.

In the capital, the lights went out from western residential neighborhoods across the city center to suburbs on the other side of the bay.

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