Buenos Aires, Argentina – A massive power outage displaced millions of people in Argentina, Uruguay and parts of Paraguay in the dark on Sunday, during which government officials called an "extraordinary" and unprecedented blackout, the cause of which is not yet known .
Blackout hit at 7:07 local time, triggered by which Argentine government officials called a mistake on a coastal network serving a number of countries and a "total disruption."
The paralyzed transport systems, closed shops, caused long queues at petrol stations and delayed provincial elections in Argentina, forcing voters to throw ballots with flashlight or at the lights of their cell phones.
The lights went out when Blanca Brito left her house to work at a hairdresser in the capital, Buenos Aires.
"At that time you couldn't see anything. The bus was running in slow motion because the driver was afraid he could hit someone. There were teres," said Brito, a manicurist who was in the dark in the Crema Rusa salon when she waited for clients to arrive.
Aida Suarez, her colleague and a recent arrival from Venezuela, said her thoughts went to her homeland. "They are things that take you back to living a little of what you have already lived," she said.
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At Parilla de Rolo restaurant in the capital there was no power for the whole morning. But the lights came around at. 1
During the checkout, Adriana Rasgido sighed in relief. They had filled up for Father's Day, and bills had to be paid.
"Five years ago there was a power outage all the time. I went home five days without power at one point. But never at work. The first time I saw something like this, she said.
By the middle of The afternoon was almost half of Argentina, with a population of 44 million people, still without power.
"This is an extraordinary event that should never have happened," Argentinian energy secretary Gustavo Lopetegui told reporters a press conference in Buenos Aires Sunday afternoon. "It's very serious. We cannot leave the country without power from one moment to another. "
The Argentine power dealer Edesur said that the error occurred at an electricity transmission point between Yacyreta and Salto Grande power stations in the northeast of Argentina.
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The government does not charge anything, including a cyber attack, even though Lopetegui said it is not among the primary potential causes
Carlos Garcia Pereira, head of Transener, Argentina's largest transmission operator, said that errors in The system could be caused by something as simple as humidity during a day of heavy rainfall.
Lopetegui emphasized that Argentine's power system is "very robust" and generates more than it requires.
An investigation is about to Decide who is responsible and whether sanctions are needed.
"It is important to clarify that this overall disruption is authentic omatically. It's the computers that run the system that does it when they detect imbalances that can cause greater damage, and in milliseconds the system is interrupted to protect itself, "Lopetegui said.
" There was no warning here, "He added." There was no possibility of a warning here because it is something a human being cannot detect. There is no human intervention. "
By 3:30 pm on Sunday, 56 percent of Argentina's strength had recovered, and most of Uruguay, with a population of 3.5 million, was online again. The Uruguayan officials reported blackouts on" Argentina & amp; # 39; s system.
All provinces in Argentina except the southernmost Tierra del Fuego, which is on its own system, were hit.
In Neuquen City in West Argentina, most businesses were closed and street lights were out on Sunday. But in the Alto Comahue, oh the few places that were open during the blackout the generators shook high and blew hot air into the rainy winter morning.
shopping mall was a popular spot for a father's day outing, and families camped out on benches and crowded food.
At a coffee shop, three young men hit laptop computers.
"We're working for a digital platform," said Nicolas Doguoli, adding that they didn't usually work in the mall.
Cecilia Nowell helped report from Neuquen