Power cuts hit over 700,000 households in the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area (AMBA) as intense heat resulted in extra demand of electricity for air conditioning devises from a network that has been enduring poor maintenance for ages, thus resulting in numerous protests from people who in addition to putting up with those temperatures were forced to dispose on tons of unrefrigerated food.
A few minutes past 1 pm, with temperatures between 39 and 40 degrees Celsius, that power supply was cut off in serveral areas of the Argentine capital and beyond the city limits. This time it was apparently an accident external to the electrical system that produced the collapse. Or so they said.
Two contradicting versions say that in the San Martín district (a suburb northwest of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires) a high voltage line went out of service due to a fire in a house under construction or due to the installation of antennas. Whether it was due to the smoke from the fire or the radiation from the antennas, this event did alter the operation of the power line, setting off a kind of alarm due to excess heat or radiation. The line went out of service when it caused the interruption of transmission, thus unhooking three generators at the Central Puerto plant.
Fifteen minutes later, around 1.30 pm, a second high-voltage line parallel to the previous one also went out of service, unhooking two other Central Puerto generators. At that point, 700,000 households had been affected.
Both cuts affected mainly northern suburbs of Buenos Aires, such as Tigre, San Fernando and San Martín, Vicente López and San Isidro as well as some neighborhoods in CABA such as Recoleta, Saavedra and Núñez.
By 5 pm, Edenor announced service had been restored to at least 80% of the users and by 8 pm it was back to normal.
Opposition politicians such as former President Mauricio Macri and former Governor of Buenos Aires María Eugenia Vidal tried to use the blackout for their own political gain on social media, hinting these type of incidents were unthinkable in their days (after a 3,000% rise in utility rates).
Power cuts have been hitting Buenos Aires since the last days of 2021. In the summer of 1989, when then President Raúl Alfonsín was unable to finish his 6-year term, it all began with power cuts and then evolved into hyperinflation. Hence, the question of high temperatures and no electricity goes beyond all the inconveniences of a bad days. For many, it is indeed some sort of deja-vu.
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