A blackout late Tuesday hit eleven states of Brazil, six of which are scheduled to host the 2014 World Cup next June. Apparently a peak of demand caused by a heat wave had the grid down, but the government of President Dilma Rousseff attributed the incident to a disturbance in the National Integrated System Operator (ONS).
The regions which suffered the blackout ('a short circuit') are to the north, southeast and south and south west of the country and the energy interruption lasted forty minutes, before the service was normalized explained ONS.
According to Brazilian media the energy interruption affected six million people and eleven states, six of which will be hosting matches as of next June: Rio do Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais to the southeast; Parana and Rio Grande do Sul, south and Matto Grosso, central west.
The incident occurred a day after OSN reported a record consumption because of the heat wave that Brazil is suffering this summer.
The record electricity demand is taking place when the country's dams are at low level because of the drought and lack of sufficient rainfall. However the Brazilian government rejected any link with the blackout.
The failure has nothing to do with the demand on the system, the Executive secretary from the Mines and Energy ministry Marcio Zimmermann told the media, although he did not give further details, and discarded any supply problems.
Brazil has an energy structural balance, between supply and demand. When there is no balance, risks are big such as rationing, because there are no replies to such temporary problems, but this is not the case of the Brazilian electricity sector underlined Zimmermann.
The Brazilian electrical sector is planned to work with a clear balance of supply and demand. These risks are contemplated in our plans, he added.
But Mauricio Tolmasquin, president of the Energy Research Company, EPE, said that January has been 'atypical' with the lowest rainfall since 1953.
However it must be recalled that a similar incident happened last August when eight states from the northeast of Brazil were left in the dark because of a fire in the supply system. Likewise in October 2012, there was another blackout which lasted several hours at dawn because of a failure at the national grid.
Recurrent blackouts have left tens of millions without energy in Brazil, a country the size of a continent. At the end of 2012 the lack of energy left the international airport of Rio do Janeiro in the dark when the terminal was packed with tourists.
At the time President Dilma Rousseff said the incident was caused by human error.
And in former president Lula da Silva's second mandate (2006/10), over half the country suffered a blackout when the link with the Itaipú, the world's largest operational hydroelectric dam failed for yet unknown causes.