48 million people were in the dark Sunday after a “massive failure” in an electrical interconnection system left Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay completely without power.
For many customers, restoring electricity will take all day, a utility distributor said Sunday.
Parts of Chile and southern Brazil experienced outages as well, said Edesur, the Buenos Aires-based company. Chile’s system was running normally again Sunday afternoon, CNN Chile reported.
The company later posted an updated statement removing Uruguay and Paraguay from the list of countries that were entirely without electricity, but it isn’t clear how many residents in those two countries have had their power restored. Power was only partially restored in Uruguay, the country’s energy authority said.
In a statement on its website, Edesur said a “collapse” in Argentina’s government-operated interconnection system occurred around 7 a.m. (6 a.m. ET).
The outage “is the first generalized blackout that Argentina has had in its history,” Edesur spokesman Alejandra Martínez told CNN affiliate TN.
The cause of the failure is under investigation, said Edesur, which has launched an “emergency operational plan” to deal with the situation.
Rabbi Lazer Shemtov, Shliach in Montevideo, Uruguay, told COL: “The electricity had already returned to our homes, when suddenly, the electricity fell once again. They say that the source is in a company based in Argentina.”
At Chabad’s Beit Hakneset Beit Menachem on Boulogne Sur Mer in Buenos Aires, Shacharis prayers were held in the dark, during the power outage Sunday morning.
Rabbi Chaim Baruch Oirechman, a Shliach in Buenos Aires, Argentina, told COL, “In Argentina, the public schools are closed on Sundays, but our Talmud Torah is always open.”
“At first they thought of canceling their studies here because of the power outage, and especially after the Ministry of Energy announced that the service would probably only be restored after 5 hours, but the service returned a lot earlier than expected, ‘and the Jews (and the students of the Talmud Torah) had light and joy,'” Rabbi Oirechman said.
— Lucas (@lucas_m_rod) June 16, 2019