Hours of power outages affect millions of people in Ecuador after transmission line failure

A power transmission line failure caused an unexpected power outage on Wednesday Ecuadorthe government said, days after announcing there would be power outages in the country due to production problems.

Ecuadorian Energy Minister Roberto Luque said in a post on Xpreviously Twitter, that the outage was reported by the country's national electricity operator and caused “a cascade disconnection”, leaving the country without energy service for several hours.

By Wednesday evening, power had been restored to 95% of the country, Luque wrote in an update on Xand called the blackout “a true reflection of the energy crisis” facing Ecuador. “For years we stopped investing in these systems and today we are experiencing the consequences,” he added.

ECUADOR ELECTRICITY BLACKOUT
Two buses travel on a main road during a power outage in Quito, Ecuador, on June 19, 2024.

GALO PAGUAY/AFP via Getty Images


In some parts of the country the outage lasted 20 minutes, but media outlets and social media users reported that the problem lasted much longer in most cities.

Emilia Cevallos, a waitress at a restaurant north of the capital Quito, said the outage was surprising.

“We thought this only applied to this sector, but when we left we realized that while some stores had generators connected, the majority had no electricity,” she said. “The traffic lights were also not working.”

The municipality of Quito said on X that traffic officers had been mobilized to coordinate traffic flow. Quito Metro, the company that operates the city's subway system, said service had been suspended as a result of the electrical outage.

Since last year, Ecuador has been facing an electricity generation crisis that has led to rationing across the country. In April, President Daniel Noboa's government began rationing electricity in the country's main cities as a drought caused by the El Niño weather pattern had depleted reservoirs and hampered the production of hydroelectric plants, which provide about 75% of the power of the land was limited.

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