Energy regulator ENRE has asked a judge to prohibit members of the board of power company Edesur from leaving the country ahead of a fraud probe, court documents show.
ENRE last week reported the company’s board for fraud, abandonment of persons and obstruction of public services after massive power cuts hit over 100,000 users in Greater Buenos Aires.
Walter Martello, an auditor from ENRE, said in the lawsuit that 180,000 power users were left without power from February 10 onwards. Additionally, the regulator said it had identified delays in responding to user’s complaints and providing information about the power cuts.
“There is a clear deficit in resources, planning, and investment when it comes to dealing with claims,” Martello wrote.
He requested that judge Julián Ercolini, who is handling the case, guarantee that Edesur directives stay in the country, “so that they are reached by justice, and stay within the law so that a proper investigation is carried out.”
The company is part of the Italian holding Enel, which owns several companies related to the Argentine electricity system. However, Enel announced in November that it would sell its operations in Argentina, as well as Peru and Romania, in a bid to reduce its debt. It said at the time that it hoped the sales would be completed by the end of 2023.
On Tuesday, Economy Minister Sergio Massa announced that Edesur would be subjected to a six-month audit, known in Spanish as an intervención, in order to check whether key infrastructure was working and improve the service.
The audit will be administrative: the company will continue to oversee general operations, and none of its property or assets will be affected.
“We can no longer tolerate what has happened over the past 15 days,” said Massa in a short press conference on Monday night. He appointed Jorge Ferraresi, Mayor of Avellaneda, as an auditor, who tweeted that the audit would be “temporary and exceptional”.
Edesur has been contacted for comment.