Friday, April 20, 2007

Blackout hits entire Costa Rica

(Inside Costa Rica) - Costa Rica fell into darkness last night shortly after 8:00 p.m., due to an electrical blackout that affected every corner of the country for more than three hours.

The problem, it appears, was caused by a failure at a the Arenal Power Station that takes hydro, thermal and wind generated power from all over Guanacaste and distributes to the entire country.

Geovanni Bonilla, a spokesman for ICE, said last night that an explosion in a transformer at the Arenal station was the cause and not related to the rationing.

The only lights visible in San Jose were in buildings that had generators and the lights of vehicles stuck in traffic intersections, as the majority of traffic lights were out as well.

The event occurred a few minutes after 8:00 pm. Although initially many believed this was part of the rationing announced earlier in the day by the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) soon the realization was that the entire country was in darkness and it wasn't until 11:30 p.m. when power was restored to all areas.

ICE had been cutting power throughout the day, rotating the affected areas. The rationing is to continue until Saturday between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. as ICE makes repairs to its three thermal plants in Limon, San Antonio de Belen and Puntarenas.

However, ICE officials were quick to say that last nights blackout was a separate incident and it was not due to the lack of maintenance.

Salvador Lopez, director of the National Center of Energy Distribution said that once the Arenal station goes out it is difficult to avoid a total collapse of the energy system.

Lopez added that before the blackout the resources of the institution had been at the limit, as the three thermal plants that are under repairs are the backup for the main network.

No comments:

Related posts