Ecuador Faces Nationwide Blackout Leaving 18 Million In Total Darkness; Here’s Why

Notably, the majority of Ecuador's energy comes from Colombia, a nation that has struggled to generate enough power for its own domestic consumption.

Jun 20, 2024 - 09:30
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Ecuador Faces Nationwide Blackout Leaving 18 Million In Total Darkness; Here’s Why

Power was nearly fully restored to Ecuador following a countrywide electricity blackout affecting 18 million residents, including the capital’s subway system. Public works minister Roberto Luque reported 95% service recovery by late Wednesday and blamed the “failure in the transmission line” for the emergency. In a statement posted on X, Roberto Luque said he had received a report from the national electricity operator, CENACE, about “a failure in the transmission line that caused a cascade disconnection, so there is no energy service nationwide.”

Luque said the authorities were working to resolve the outage “as quickly as possible.” Within hours, power had started to return to some parts of Ecuador’s capital, Quito.

Ecuador, which has a population of 18 million people, has been struggling with an energy crisis for several years. Failing infrastructure, a lack of maintenance and a dependence on imported energy have all contributed to rolling blackouts. However, none of them have been as widespread as this one, The New York Times reported.

Around 3:15 pm (local time) on Wednesday, most of the people in Ecuador found themselves without power. Notably, the majority of Ecuador’s energy comes from Colombia, a nation that has struggled to generate enough power for its own domestic consumption.

Locals quickly took to social media to report the power issues. “In the new Ecuador that resolves, there is no electricity, no security, no employment…” one person wrote on X.

“Ecuador has been having power grid problems/shortages for months due to both drought conditions and massive mismanagement,” another one added. “A critical transmission line failure that triggered a domino effect, causing a cascading power disconnection across the country,” a third person tweeted.

Ecuador’s power outage

A Chinese-built hydroelectric power plant, the Coca Codo Sinclair Dam, worth USD 2.25 billion was supposed to help solve the problem of Ecuador. However, the project has become a major headache for the Ecuadorean authorities. There have been several construction errors, which have resulted in a legal dispute between Ecuadorean officials and the Chinese company.

Earlier in April, Ecuador faced blackouts, which the Energy Ministry said was caused due to historically low water flows after an extended drought, rising temperatures and a lack of maintenance of the country’s electrical system, according to The New York Times report.

For weeks afterwards, the ministry imposed daily power cuts that lasted several hours.

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