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Millions of Argentines Are in Darkness After Power Line Fire – Bloomberg

  • Buenos Aires, provinces from north to south suffer outages
  • Up to 40% of electricity demand affected, local outlets report
A fire, on a high-tension line outside the Buenos Aires metro area, on March 1, 2023.Source: Secretaría de Energía de la República Argentina
A fire, on a high-tension line outside the Buenos Aires metro area, on March 1, 2023.(Secretaría de Energía de la República Argentina)

Jonathan Gilbert, Bloomberg News

EnergiesNet.com 03 02 2023

Swaths of Argentina were plunged into darkness on Wednesday after a fire on a power line led major parts of the grid to switch off. 

The fire, on a high-tension line outside the Buenos Aires metro area, triggered a safety system to kick in and turn off several power plants and lines, according to a government spokeswoman. Engineers are rushing to fix the line and reconnect millions of Argentines nationwide, the Energy Secretariat said.

The outages extend from the capital to other industrial and residential hubs in the center of the country, as well as provinces in the northwest, along the Andes, and as far south as Santa Cruz in Patagonia. Plants out of service include major state-run nuclear facilities Atucha I and Embalse.

Local TV station Todo Noticias reported that the grid was unable to meet 40% of electricity demand. 

Argentina has been suffering heat waves in the past few weeks that cause electricity usage to soar as households and businesses crank up air conditioning. The temperature in Buenos Aires on Wednesday soared to 37C (99F) amid the city’s hottest summer in more than a century of record-keeping, according to the National Weather Service.

Heat waves have also compounded a drought that’s decimating Argentina’s key soybean crop.

Blackouts are not uncommon for residents of Argentina’s capital, with years of price controls leading to insufficient investment in power grids.

The last major national blackout was in 2019.

bloomberg.com 03 01 2023

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