A power outage affected roughly 40% of the country yesterday afternoon after a fire caused problems with the high-voltage power lines that link the cities of Campana and General Rodríguez.
The outage, which started at 4 p.m. and lasted for at least three hours, affected the Greater Buenos Aires area and the provinces of Córdoba, Santa Fe, La Rioja, Tucumán, La Pampa, Río Negro, Neuquén, Mendoza and San Juan, leaving nearly half the population without power amid a heat wave.
The Energy Secretariat tweeted that fires in the countryside caused a short circuit. This resulted in an imbalance in the power generation system which caused several power plants to automatically disconnect from the grid as a precaution.
The Energy Secretariat said in a statement that, contrary to some media reports, the Atucha I nuclear power plant did not suffer any problems per se – it disconnected from the grid as per its security protocol.
According to the Undersecretariat of Electric Energy, users were demanding 26,000 MW of electricity and more than 9,000 MW went offline. The drop of more than a third left almost 20 million users without electricity.
After 6:30 p.m., power companies started to restore the service across the country.
Buenos Aires Governor Axel Kicillof suspended the inaugural session of 2023 in the provincial Legislature because of the outages.
Economy Minister Sergio Massa filed a legal complaint and requested the Campana federal court to “investigate, prosecute and, if necessary, detain” those responsible for the fires. In his request, Massa wrote that he was certain the fires were intentional.