Some 10 million people were left in the dark Saturday night when massive power outages affected seven of Chile’s central region.The Atacama and Bío-Bío regions at the extremes of the power outages were only affected while all five regions between the regions of Coquimbo, north of the Metropolitan Santiago Region, and Mauleto the south were completely without power.
The source of the blackout, which began at 8:30 pm, was traced to the malfunction of a transformer in a power substation and Transelec, a Chilean energyand communications networks company, confirmed that the problem began in the Ancoa substation, located near Linares in the Maule Region.
To make matters worse, “There was a serious problem with theremote recovery system, and because of this, power had to be restored manually and locally…this error has never happened before. The computer system that is used by various companies as well as CDEC,home of SIC, failed and we couldn’t restore power quickly from a distance” said Alvarez.
This meant that citizens were left without power for up to two and a half hours in many places, includingSantiago.
The Superintendent of Electricity and Fuel will conduct an investigation to establish the reason for the system failure, the causes of the malfunction of the remote computer recoverysystem, and to determine why the text messaging system, implemented by the government and the company Global Systems in order to establish communication during emergency situations, did not functionproperly.
The situation also provoked an explosive increase in phone calls that effected phone companies like Movistar and Entel. According to the Department of Telecommunications, Entel also reportedelectrical malfunctions that prevented it from operating for a time.
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