Argentina Suffers Power Network Failure

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Argentina suffered a major power outage today which left the country almost entirely without power. Its neighbour Uruguay suffered equally as badly as the networks between the two countries are interconnected.

Image Credit: Miguel Cesar

Approximately 44 million people were left without power and Edesur, the Argentinian power company said that initial investigations indicated that a 500kV circuit between Mercedes and Belgrano had tripped. This in turn caused a second line between Mercedes and Colonia Elia to suffer the same issue.

The failure began shortly after 7am on Sunday, much of the network had been restored by Monday morning, leaving a huge number without power on Fathers Day. Argentina’s president Mauricio Macri said a full investigation into what caused the blackout would be launched and prevent it occurring in the future. The blackout crippled the country, including much of the public transport network in the major cities.

Underinvestment and mismanagement is a hallmark of the Argentina power grid due to the countries long suffering budget issues. Cables, substations and generation are often insufficiently sized with the rate of power transmission having remained constant for many years.

The knock-on effect in Uruguay, a country of only 3 million people will raise questions as to their reliance on there larger neighbours ageing power infrastructure. Both grids are centred on the Salto Grande Damn, which is cited nearly 500km north of Buenos Aires.

Limited backup power was available for critical sites which rely on diesel generators in the main to support hospitals, schools and clinics, but those who had failed to invest were left without power.

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