Power outages affect large swath of Venezuela, including much of nation's capital

A power outage has hit nearly half of Venezuela, including much of Caracas, which normally escapes blackouts.

Deputy Energy Minister Franco Silva says failures on several transmission lines are to blame.

He told state TV that nine of Venezuela's 23 states were affected.

Venezuelans have been struggling with worsening blackouts but the capital is almost always spared.

Opposition politicians complain that the government hasn't invested enough in the electrical grid and generating plants to keep up with growing demand.

Authorities say delays in several initiatives designed to boost electricity output are partly to blame. But they also have suggested that government foes have sabotaged the grid.