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Power outage in Argentina affects 20 million people, or 40% of the entire country

Argentina registered a power outage on Wednesday (Mar. 1) that affected 40% of the country and about 20 million people.

The blackout affected the provinces of Santa Fe, Mendoza, Córdoba, San Luis, San Juan, Santa Cruz, Catamarca, Formosa, Salta, La Rioja, and Jujuy, as much of the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires. The information is from the newspaper La Nación.

According to Argentinian authorities, the cause of the incident was a fire that hit power transmission lines in a pasture area in the cities of Campana and General Rodríguez.

Power outage in Argentina affects 20 million people, or 40% of the entire country. (Photo internet reproduction)
Power outage in Argentina affects 20 million people, or 40% of the entire country. (Photo internet reproduction)

According to La Nación, sources in the energy sector said that the reason for the fire might have been caused by this summer’s heat and drought. Temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius were recorded in the places of the flames.

Because of the risk of the flames, the company Nucleoeléctrica Argentina opted to shut down the Atucha 1 nuclear power plant, located 100 km from Buenos Aires.

Later, the company’s Twitter profile said the shutdown was motivated by “external” factors.

“We clarify that the massive power supply interruption that occurred this afternoon was not caused by the Atucha I Nuclear Power Plant but by failures in the interconnected system. Due to this external inconvenience, Atucha I has been taken out of service and is in a safe shutdown,” the company said.

The chain event, in turn, deregulated the Argentine interconnection system (SADI, in Spanish), an electrical network that interconnects different regions of the country. About 6 million households were left without power.

At around 4 pm (Brasilia time), the website of Cammesa, the company that manages the national electricity market in Argentina, showed a sharp drop in electricity usage records. System demand indicated 26,570 MW (megawatts).

The Argentine government reported around 7 pm that the affected power transmission lines were already in service. As of 11:25 pm on Wednesday, Cammesa indicated 22,926 MW.

Argentina’s Energy Secretariat is subordinated to the Ministry of Economy. The holder of the portfolio, Sergio Massa, has requested a Justice investigation to find out the causes of the fire.

“We want the intention of the two large fires to be investigated, which can be framed in the crime of FIRE AND STREAKING, and which left thousands of Argentines without electricity service,” the minister wrote in a letter.

The power outage interrupted rail service in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area. The Argentine rail network is one of the largest in the world and the longest in Latin America. The Roca and Sarmiento lines came to a complete halt, and passengers had to walk.

On Twitter, users also reported traffic lights out of order and streets completely dark because of the power outage.

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