Some 30,406 households were still without electricity in the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires (CABA) after an explosion Saturday of a generating substation of the Edesur company in the strategic Caballito neighborhood in the Argentine capital left some 60,000 users powerless for hours, after which service was gradually restored, the (National Entity Regulating Electricity (Ente Nacional Regulador de la Electricidad - ENRE) reported Sunday.
The incident affecting customers in the Caballito, Parque Chacabuco, and Almagro communes is believed to have been sparked by a possible malfunction in an oil filtering machine.
It took firefighters over six hours on Saturday night to control the flames after dozens of adjacent buildings were evacuated as a precaution. No fatalities were reported. Many homes were also left without drinking water since the power cut affected the Water and Sanitation Argentina (Agua y Saneamientos Argentina - AySA) pumping plant a few blocks away.
Edesur, privatizada hace 30 años, no solo te corta la luz cada vez que hay 33 grados sino que también se les prenden fuego las subestaciones contaminando todo, teniendo que evacuar a los vecinos y dejando sin servicio a miles. pic.twitter.com/XDNBIV6Q4O— Magdalena (@hamelina_) February 10, 2024
Although no casualties were reported, several people had to be assisted by the Buenos Aires City Medical Emergency SAME team for suffocation due to smoke.
Edesur said in a statement that while working to establish the causes of the fire its emergency operating plan was put in place, which includes the mobilization of large generators and the transfer of demand to other facilities, as well as temporary works to try to minimize the area of cut-off.
We found evidence that would allow us to determine the cause of the fire. Although the fire experts will analyze the causes of the incident during the day, we can state, subject to confirmation by the specialists, that the incident occurred when a maintenance crew was carrying out maintenance work at the site. It was a scheduled oil filtration activity in one of the main transformers, a job for which a specific treatment machine is used for this task, the company also said. The fire would have originated in that filtration machine, and then affected the rest of the installations, it went on.
The ENRE said it was monitoring the repair work to be carried out by Edesur at the site and announced that it will carry out an investigation to determine the causes that produced the fire.
Meanwhile, AySA requested neighbors of Caballito to make a rational use of the water service and announced a contingency plan until power is restored.
According to Edesur, supply has been restored to 80% of the affected customers. We continue working in the area together with the City Government and the Energy Secretariat. In the coming hours, large generators will be installed to reduce the number of customers affected while the reconstruction of the substation is underway.
Pot-banging protests were staged in many streets in Caballito during the weekend.