The blackout in Argentina, a real life nightmare with terrible consequences… We all know the chaos on our tiny island whenever there is a power cut, especially during the hot season, let alone a blackout that lasts for days…

What caused the blackout?

The cause was unclear for several hours, and thoughts also went to a hypothesis of sabotage. Only at noon, local time, the government spoke of a “collapse of the Argentino de Interconexión system”, that is, of the national electricity grid, which took place around 9.00am local time. At 7.06am the first malfunctions.

Between the Yacyretá dam, on the border between Paraguay and Argentina, and that of Salto Grande, between Argentina and Uruguay, a link was lost. The cause, perhaps, the heavy rains of these days. The frequency of the exchanges is 50 hertz: when this is altered, the control units lock for safety. And all the connected ones are blocked in the chain. Thus in a short time fifty million people remained in the dark.

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Which places ended without electricity?

In all the Argentinian territory, except the Tierra del Fuego, all over Uruguay, in some cities of Chile: Puente Alto, San José de Maipo, Pirque, Conchalí. In some provinces of Paraguay: Itapúa, Misiones, Ñeembucú. At first the news of a blackout had spread in Brazil, but official sources denied it.

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How long did it last?

The first reports occurred around 7am, local time (our 12am). At 2.30pm the light was back in about half of the affected areas. It took a whole day to restore the service.

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What consequences did it have?

Paralysed trains and subways in Argentina and Uruguay, while hospitals and airports, with their autonomous generators, continued to function. Many drinking water distribution companies in the region have found themselves in difficulty and have urged citizens to open the faucets properly.

Images: Getty Images