Sunday, September 22, 2019
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ARGENTINA | 22-06-2019 08:23

Millions hit by ‘historic’ blackout

Argentina is no stranger to blackouts but never on an almost nationwide scale as from 7.07am on Father’s Day last Sunday with power only starting to return as from 1.30pm.

Energy Secretary Gustavo Lopetegui’s department blamed the interruption of the power supply on a shutdown of the SADI grid based on transmission from the Yacyretá hydro-electric dam as an automatic computer reflex to a system failure (probably due to humidity), ruling out sabotage, but this did not prevent political calls for his head during the week.

Lopetegui said that the power failure was a “perfect storm” which could never be repeated but journalist Ricardo Sarmiento investigating the blackout concluded that it was the result of tower No. 412 being out of action.

Only Tierra del Fuego (which was voting that day) was spared but all Uruguay and parts of Brazil were also affected. Public hospitals were especially affected and hundreds more policemen patrolled the streets to prevent looting. Rail and underground transport were completely interrupted although Aeroparque and Ezeiza airports had their own generators.

Santa Fe, San Luis and Formosa also had elections that day with many voters using the light of their mobile telephones to cast their ballots.

Until last Sunday the biggest blackout in Argentine history had been in 2002, when almost 13 million people were affected.

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