Power Largely Restored After Ecuador Was Struck by Nationwide Power Outage, Officials Say

NTD Newsroom
By NTD Newsroom
June 20, 2024Americas
Power Largely Restored After Ecuador Was Struck by Nationwide Power Outage, Officials Say
People walk outside of a metro station after a blackout affected the entire country, in Quito, Ecuador, on June 19, 2024. (Dolores Ochoa/AP Photo)

Power has now been mostly restored after Ecuador was struck by a nationwide power outage on June 19, according to a senior official. The outage affected around 18 million people and also caused disruption to the capital’s subway system amid efforts by authorities to repair faulty power lines, according to the source.

Public Works Minister Roberto Luque, who also serves as the country’s acting energy minister, posted an update about the situation in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

“With a cutoff at 6:41 p.m., the situation is that on a national scale, 95 percent of the energy has already been restored (3,500 MW),” Mr. Luque said in the post.

The power failure occurred just after 3 p.m. local time.

“At 3:17 p.m. there was a failure of the Milagro Zhoray Transmission Line that generated a ‘blackout’ to the national system,” he said.

The power outage has caused mass confusion on the streets of the capital Quito, as traffic lights stopped functioning and operations in the city’s subway system have also ground to a halt.

“There is a failure in the transmission line that caused a cascade disconnection, so there’s no electricity at a national scale,” Mr. Luque said in a post earlier in the day.

“Due to a general failure of the national interconnected electrical energy system, the operation of the Quito Metro is interrupted while the systems are restarted and verified,” the metro system said on X.

Ecuadorean President Daniel Noboa announced in April that there would be planned electricity cuts, and he declared an emergency.

Mr. Luque further weighed in on the situation in his social media post, saying insufficient maintenance was a contributing factor.

“This event is A TRUE REFLECTION OF THE ENERGY CRISIS that we are experiencing, with lack of investment in generation (what happened in April), lack of investment in transmission (what happened today) and in distribution. For years we have stopped investing in these systems and today we are experiencing the consequences,” Mr. Luque said.

The South American country has been severely affected by drought in recent months, which has affected its hydro-electricity power generation. However, as heavy rains hit the country over the weekend, authorities had to take three hydroelectric plants offline.

The rains caused multiple casualties and major destruction after around 20 people died in a landslide and injured around 20 others.

Ecuador’s private OCP oil pipeline was forced to suspend operations as a result of the disaster and declared force majeure.

Reuters contributed to this report.