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Rolling Blackouts to Hit Ecuador Days Before Presidential Vote – Bloomberg

  • Lack of backup power from Colombia aggravates crisis
  • Hydroelectric power supplies 80% of Ecuador’s electricity
Blackouts in northern Quito in 2009. The blackouts represent the first major electricity shortage to hit the country in more than a decade.

Photographer: Pablo Cozzaglio/AFP/Getty Images
Blackouts in northern Quito in 2009. The blackouts represent the first major electricity shortage to hit the country in more than a decade. (Pablo Cozzaglio/AFP/Getty)

Stephan Kueffner, Bloomberg News

EnergiesNet.com 10 06 2023

Ecuador is braced for rolling blackouts just days before its presidential election as lack of rain hits the hydroelectric plants that generate 80% of the nation’s electricity. 

The normal backup plan of importing power is unavailable as Colombia carries out maintenance work on its electrical infrastructure, the Energy and Mines Ministry said in a statement Tuesday. 

That will force lights out in Ecuador for approximately 90 minutes during afternoon hours, the ministry said.

The blackouts represent the first major electricity shortage to hit the country in more than a decade, and are likely to damp the unexpectedly strong rebound the economy is seeing this year. The nation holds its presidential runoff on Oct. 15, with businessman Daniel Noboa facing socialist lawyer Luisa González.

Even as reservoir levels drop to critical levels in the Amazon basin, meteorologists warn that the Pacific coast may soon face flooding from destructive torrential rainfall caused by the El Niño weather phenomenon.

Threat Level

The US National Center for Atmospheric Research predicts this may be one of the strongest El Niño events since the 1990s, which inflicted severe damage on Ecuador. 

The government raised the threat level to orange from yellow last month, meaning that El Niño weather is now imminent.  

Read more: Ecuador Raises Weather Alert to Orange

Both presidential candidates have pledged to take emergency steps to protect the public from El Niño events. Noboa, the frontrunner, has promised to invest heavily in electrical transmission lines. 

–With assistance from Brian K. Sullivan.

bloomberg.com 10 03 2023

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