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Ecuador suffered a nationwide power outage

Ecuador was plunged into a nationwide power outage on Wednesday afternoon and the country’s public works minister blamed the emergency on the failure of a vital transmission line.

Minister Roberto Luque said in a statement about X that he had received reports from the national electricity operator, CENACE, of “transmission line failures causing cascading disconnections so there was no energy service nationwide.”

He said authorities were working to resolve the power outages “as quickly as possible.” In just a few hours, power began to return to some areas in the capital Quito.

This South American country of 18 million people has been struggling with an energy crisis for years. Aging infrastructure, lack of maintenance and dependence on imported energy all contribute to rolling blackouts – although none have been as widespread as this one.

Around 3:15 p.m. Wednesday, most Ecuadorians found themselves without electricity.

Most of the country’s energy comes from neighboring Colombia, a country that is struggling to generate enough electricity for its domestic consumption.

The $2.25 billion Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric plant built by China is expected to help solve Ecuador’s problem. Located on the Coca River in Napo province, 62 miles east of Quito, it is the largest energy project in Ecuador.

Instead, the project has become a headache for Ecuadorian authorities. There have been several construction flaws that have led to legal disputes between Ecuadorian officials and the Chinese company.

The country awoke to widespread power outages in April, which the Department of Energy attributed to historically low water flows following a prolonged drought, rising temperatures and the country’s failing power system. maintained.

For weeks afterward, the ministry imposed daily power cuts lasting several hours. President Daniel Noboa declared an energy emergency, ordered businesses and government offices to close for several days and asked the energy minister to resign.

The blackouts ended in mid-May and Mr. Luque, who also serves as acting energy secretary, said on June 7 that the risk of blackouts had been minimized. But that assurance was short-lived.

On June 16, parts of Quito were again in darkness. Three days later, power outages occurred nationwide.

On Wednesday night, the sound of car horns and the screams of drivers filled the streets of Quito and the port city of Guayaquil as traffic lights stopped working and vehicles flooded the city’s streets. Public transportation systems and some water companies suspended services in both major cities.

Mayor of Quito expressed surprise about X that the outage affected the city’s subway system, which uses “isolated” power sources.

“This event must have been so important that it even affected the power supply of the Quito metro,” he wrote.

Thalie Ponce Contributor reported from Guayaquil, Ecuador.


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