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System failure causes power outage through much of Central America

September 16, 2019

A failure in a regional electrical interconnection system on Monday caused a blackout in Honduras and Nicaragua, and partially affected the systems in Guatemala and El Salvador, the company in charge reported.

“A state of emergency was presented in the Central American Electric System (SER) due to a failure in the 230 kW (kilowatts) transmission line in Honduras,” the Regional Operator Entity (EOR), based in the Salvadoran capital, said in a statement.

The phenomenon left almost the entire territory of Honduras and Nicaragua without electricity, according to the entity.

The EOR, attached to the Central American Integration System (SICA), is responsible for administering and operating technically and commercially the energy transactions between Central America and Mexico.

According to the EOR, these oscillations produced a “shot” of the Guatemala-Mexico interconnection, which activated an automatic disconnection protection system.

Consequently, the statement said, “there is a total blackout in the electrical systems” of Nicaragua and Honduras, which are “isolated from other countries in the region.”

The electrical systems of Guatemala and El Salvador were also partially affected, where partial cuts were recorded.

The failure did not affect the energy systems of Costa Rica and Panama, where the energy service was not interrupted, the EOR said.

In Nicaragua, the power outage caused water pumping problems “that will be resolved” in the next few hours, vice president and official spokeswoman Rosario Murillo told official media.

The president of the state-owned National Electric Transmission Company of Nicaragua, Salvador Mansell, said they have already restored service gradually in several sectors, including Managua.

An EOR spokesman told AFP that in El Salvador and Guatemala “the power outage (which occurred at 5:50 p.m. GMT) was brief.”

In the case of Nicaragua, the EOR systems record that 35% of the energy system was recovered four hours after the incident, while Honduras recovered 95% in the same period.

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