Power supply nearly restored in Argentina, Uruguay

Power supply has been almost fully restored in Argentina and Uruguay on Monday after a massive failure a day earlier led to a rare blackout across the two countries, officials say.

The supply of 15,500 MW, which meets 98% of the total energy needs of Argentina, has been normalised. The remaining 2% is without power due to local problems, the energy ministry said in a statement.

Energy Secretary Gustavo Lopetegui claimed power was restored in the capital Buenos Aires around 3pm on Sunday itself.

People in the capital area were relieved since the blackout had hit water supply and underground rail transport for hours.

President Mauricio Macri blamed the shutdown on the transportation system failure in the country’s northeast.

Lopetegui said the system was shut down automatically to protect itself after a voltage destabilisation was detected.

Cyber-attack is not among the potential causes being considered for the outage, he said, adding that an investigation has been ordered.

The blackout came as four provinces in Argentina were holding elections. Local reports said voters cast ballots by candlelight.

It is winter in Argentina and people cursed themselves as they woke up without power.

Argentina’s energy provider Edenor said the blackout across the country started at 7.07am, some 50 minutes before sunrise.

Its Uruguayan counterpart UTE said the outage started at 7.06am left the entire country without electricity.

UTE said power was later restored in parts of coastal cities and in Uruguay’s capital Montevideo.

Argentina and Uruguay have a common power grid.

The outage also affected some regions in Chile, Brazil and Paraguay.