2019 Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay blackout
Blackout at the Obelisco de Buenos Aires
|Date||16 June 2019|
|Location||Argentina (except Tierra del Fuego), Uruguay and parts of Paraguay|
|Cause||Unknown (under investigation)|
On 16 June 2019, a large-scale power outage struck most of Argentina, all of Uruguay, and parts of Paraguay, leaving an estimated total of 48 million people without electrical supply. By the following day it was confirmed that power had been restored to most of Argentina and Uruguay, and Argentine President Mauricio Macri promised a full investigation. Preliminary reports later suggested problems with several 500-kilovolt transmission lines disrupted the flow of electricity from two dams to Argentina's power grid.
At 7:07 a.m. (UTC-3) on 16 June 2019, Argentina's power grid "collapsed", according to Gustavo Lopetegui, the country's Energy Secretary. The failure occurred in the Argentine Interconnection System. In total, an estimated 48 million people lost power. The blackout affected most of Argentina (Tierra del Fuego in the country's far south was not affected) and Uruguay, along with parts of Paraguay. Although some media reported blackouts in parts of Chile and parts of southern Brazil, this claim was denied by the Chilean and Brazilian national authorities. Argentina's President Mauricio Macri called it "unprecedented".
Argentine distributor of electricity Edesur announced on Twitter at 7:50 a.m. that all of Argentina and Uruguay had lost power as a result of the incident. It caused disruptions in subways and trains, but did not affect air travel. According to Edesur, power had already been restored to some parts of Buenos Aires by 10 a.m.; Edesur reported that it might take many hours to restore power to all affected customers. By 1:30 p.m. power had been restored across 75% of Uruguay. By mid-afternoon 50,000 people had power restored in Argentina; north of Río Negro, coastal cities and the metropolitan areas of Uruguay also had power restored, as confirmed via Twitter by Uruguay's government-owned power company UTE. By the evening, it was announced that power had been restored to 98% of Argentina.
By 17 June, it was confirmed that power had been restored to most of Argentina and Uruguay. Argentine President Macri promised a full investigation. Citing official sources, Argentine media reported that the outage was linked to a failure in the transmission of electricity from the Yacyretá hydroelectric dam.
Because the distribution of drinking water was affected by the power outage, Agua y Saneamientos Argentinos, one of Argentina's biggest water companies, warned people without power to limit their use of water.
The blackout had an impact on local gubernatorial elections taking place in Argentina, where the lack of power forced voters to fill out ballots in the dark, using their mobile phones as flashlights. In some regions of the country, the elections were postponed by authorities.
An independent energy expert in Argentina attributed a role in the blackout to "systemic operational and design errors" in the country's energy infrastructure.
Preliminary reports suggested that the blackout likely originated from a fault in a 500 kV circuit from the municipality of Colonia Elía to Belgrano, a suburb of Buenos Aires. A second 500 kV circuit from Colonia Elía to Mercedes subsequently tripped under automatic action; the cause of that trip is still under investigation. A third 500 kV line from Colonia Elía to Nueva Campana was out of service at the time owing to construction work.
The Ente Nacional Regulador de la Electricidad set the fee for the wholesaler energy distributor Transener. The maximum fee would be either 10% of the annual earnings or 50% of the monthly ones; Transener earned $9,838.5 millions in 2018. Distributors Edenor and Edesur turned off 38% of the service, which harmed the situation as it was required a 52% to compensate the outage. Cammesa, the institution that regulates those distributors, explained that this was an automatic process, and that this failure was a consequence of badly programmed systems. Cammesa would redirect the money of the fees to the users, who would get a tax credit as compensation. Those credits would be of a uniform amount, unrelated to the actual time each user was without energy.
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- Politi, Daniel (16 June 2019). "Argentina and Uruguay Without Power After 'Massive' Failure". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 16 June 2019.
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- Coordinador Eléctrico Nacional [@coord_electrico] (16 June 2019). "(INFORMACIÓN) Coordinador Eléctrico Nacional informa que el sistema eléctrico de Chile funciona con total normalidad, luego de la falla que afectó este domingo al sistema interconectado que une a Argentina con Uruguay" (Tweet) (in Spanish). Retrieved 16 June 2019 – via Twitter.
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- "Bloomberg - Are you a robot?". www.bloomberg.com.
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- UTE (16 June 2019). "COMUNICADO DE UTE. A las 13:30 el 75% de los servicios es normal" (in Spanish). Twitter.
- UTE (16 June 2019). "Ya está restablecido el servicio al norte del Río Negro. También se restituyó en parte del litoral sur y zona metropolitana. Quedan pendientes daños por el temporal. Se sigue trabajando para reponer el resto del sistema" (in Spanish). Twitter.
- "Massive blackout hits tens of millions in South America". Associated Press. 16 June 2019.
- Byrne, Paul and Henao, Luis (16 June 2019). "South America blackout leaves tens of millions without power". Associated Press.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Phillips, Tom; Goñi, Uki (16 June 2019). "Millions across South America hit by massive power cut". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 16 June 2019.
- "'Unprecedented' blackout hits three South American countries". South China Morning Post. 17 June 2019.
- Nordrum, Amy (18 June 2019). "Transmission Failure Causes Nationwide Blackout in Argentina". IEEE Spectrum: Technology, Engineering, and Science News. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
- Sofia Diamante (4 July 2019). "Por el apagón, todos los usuarios del país recibirán una bonificación en sus facturas de luz" [Because of the blackout, users in all the country will receive a credit in the energy fees] (in Spanish). La Nación. Retrieved 15 July 2019.