Power was restored Monday to several sections of Havana that were left without electricity for nearly six hours due to a problem over the weekend with a transmission line in central Cuba.

Electric service returned around 2:00 a.m. in the capital and was welcomed by residents awake in the early morning hours.

"An interruption in a 220,000 volt transmission line between Ciego de Avila and Santa Clara" occurred at 8:08 p.m. Sunday, state-owned power company Union Electrica said.

The outage "affected electric service from Camaguey (in central Cuba) to Pinar del Rio" in the island's extreme west, an Union Electrica statement read on state television nearly four hours after the blackout occurred said.

An Efe reporter toured Havana and found the capital to be nearly completely dark, with a few downtown hotels and some buildings with generators managing to keep their lights on.

Many people moved chairs into the streets to escape the oppressive heat indoors, using candles and flashlights to find their way around.

Cubans deal with the high summer temperatures by keeping fans going nearly all the time.

The blackout also affected the western provinces of Pinar del Rio and Matanzas, as well as Villa Clara and Cienfuegos, which are in central Cuba, but the power was out for a shorter time in many places.

Electric service was apparently not interrupted from Ciego de Avila, in the central region of the country, to the extreme eastern part of the island, residents in those areas told Efe by telephone.

The government has not commented on the outage.

Power outages are common on the island, but this was the most widespread blackout in recent memory.

A blackout affected western Cuba in August 2006, when two transmission towers that had been stripped of structural parts collapsed.

The outage, however, only lasted about three hours and occurred in the early morning hours.

Cubans contend with frequent outages, but service is usually restored quickly and blackouts are localized. EFE