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Montevideo, May 24th 2024 - 16:18 UTC

 

 

Energy crisis prompts new emergency declaration in Ecuador

Saturday, April 20th 2024 - 10:30 UTC
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The new power crisis came just ahead of Sunday's key referendum for Noboa's government The new power crisis came just ahead of Sunday's key referendum for Noboa's government

Ecuador's President Daniel Noboa Friday issued a decree establishing yet another state of emergency due to a “serious internal commotion and public calamity” in the violence-torn South American country which is going through an energy crisis in addition to drug-trafficking gang crimes. Power cuts last up to about eight hours a day amid tight “rationing of electricity.”

In this scenario, Noboa has ordered “the mobilization and intervention of the National Police and the Armed Forces throughout the national territory, duly coordinated, to ensure the security of critical energy infrastructure facilities to prevent sabotage, terrorist attacks or other threats that may affect their operation.”

According to local media, a drop in water levels at the Mazar reservoir, the second largest in the country, which feeds three hydroelectric power plants accounting for one-third of the national demand, has led to the current situation.

In addition, the electricity supply from Colombia has also been cut off due to a severe drought in the neighboring country.

The new state of exception was approved just ahead of Sunday's referendum through which Noboa intends to move forward with a series of judiciary, security, employment, and investment reforms. The previous state of exception entailed the declaration of an “internal armed conflict” labeling 22 criminal gangs and terrorist groups as non-state belligerent actors so that Ecuador's Armed Forces may be deployed to tackle the crisis.

Earlier this week, Noboa demanded the resignation of Energy and Mines Minister Andrea Arrobo, who had ruled out any possibility of new blackouts. On April 16, the Ministry declared a 60-day emergency and Thursday's power cut lasted between 8 and 13 hours.

Allegations that the Mazar reservoir was deliberately emptied were denied by the Corporación Eléctrica del Ecuador (Celec) operating the facilities. Celec insisted that the water levels there had been gradually dropping since the beginning of this year with not enough rain in time to replenish it.

Noboa's newest emergency declaration allows for the acquisition and additional generation of electrical energy to be prioritized over other matters.

Categories: Energy & Oil, Latin America.

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