Argentina and Uruguay reel after massive power outage

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Electricity services have been restored in Argentina and Uruguay following a massive blackout that left around 48 million people without power on Sunday. The electrical failure was caused by a failure in an electrical grid that works for both Argentina and Uruguay. Argentine media said “the power cut occurred shortly after 07:00 (10:00GMT) on Sunday causing trains to be halted and failures with traffic signalling.”Meanwhile Argentina’s Energy Ministry Gustavo Lopetegui said “services had been restored to 77 percent of customers in the country. There are still outages in multiple provinces while Tierra del Fuego in the country’s extreme south was spared because it is not part of the national system.”

The electrical failure occurred as people in Argentina were preparing to go to the polls for local elections which slowed down voting to elect governors in several provinces.In Uruguay the state power company UTE said “power had returned to at least 88 percent of the country.” A state energy company said that “The power cut which happened after 7:00 am also affected Parts of Paraguay and Chile.” It was the first time a power cut had affected entirety of both Argentina with a population of more than 44 million and Uruguay which has 3.4 million residents.

Alejandra Martinez a spokeswoman for the company mentioned the power cut as unprecedented. “This is the first time something like this has happened across the entire country” she said. Argentina’s energy ministry Gustavo Lopetegui said ina press conference that “These are failures that occur even with diligence. The amazing thing is the chain of events that took place to cause the total disconnection.” Gustavo Lopetegui urged that the country’s electrical system was “very robust” but he also added that the exact cause of the power failure was unclear. “At the moment we’re not ruling out any possibility. But we don’t think it is down to a cyber attack. the outage took place “automatically to protect the system.”

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Gustavo Lopetegui told the reporters.Earlier the day power had returned to some areas of Buenos Aires but the metro and trains were still stopped at the station. Public hospitals and private clinics were running on generators.”The only inconvenience is the elevators. We only have one working, but all services are operating without problems” an employee of the Fernandez Hospital said.”Everything came to a halt. Elevators, water pumps, everything. We were left adrift.” Juan Borges, who lives in Buenos Aires told the BBC. “There are some elderly people on the eighth floor but nothing happened because the power cut was short. If it had gone on for longer it would have been a whole different story.” he added.

In some regions residents stocked up on drinking water that was sold in supermarkets. Argentina and Uruguay has a common power grid centered on the Salto Grande dam which is 450 kilometers north of Buenos Aires. “We decided to open because we need to work but early on we lost seven or eight tables of customers because we couldn’t prepare coffee or bake bread.” the owner of a bakery told. Tierra del Fuego was the only area that was unaffected by the massive blackout because it is not connected to the power grid.

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