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Ecuador is paralyzed for two days due to a serious energy crisis

Ecuador is paralyzed for two days due to a serious energy crisis

Ecuador in the dark. Not only because a power outage lasting more than seven hours continues this Wednesday across the country, despite the president announcing his suspension, but also because the severity of the crisis affecting the energy sector and who is responsible for it is unknown. Evidence is provided by the government through its decisions. For example, the recent decree signed by Daniel Noboa, which will paralyze the country for two days. The document stated that work and school were suspended on Thursdays and Fridays in the public and private sectors to ensure “rest and leisure time.”

But after a few hours they learned the underlying reason: the critical conditions of the two most important reservoirs that provide water for hydroelectric power plants. “They recorded an operational storage level of 0% in Mazar, and 4% in Buti,” the presidency statement said. The situation has reached historic records, says Sinas, the electricity operator, and he warns that the energy deficit facing the country reaches 27 gigawatts per day.

The government confirms that, through the preliminary investigation conducted by the new Minister of Energy in charge, Roberto Luque, the crisis is not only related to environmental conditions due to the lack of rain that caused an extension of the drought period, but rather to actions. Corruption and negligence by high-ranking officials in the Department of Energy, including former Secretary Andrea Arrobo. “They deliberately concealed information important to the operation of the national energy system.” In addition, they “suppressed and canceled warnings and alerts submitted to the Energy Crisis Commission, with the aim of ensuring that this dangerous situation does not become known so that timely decisions can be made,” the statement explains.

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The first time the president mentioned the issue was on April 16 at an event where he planned to distribute scholarships to students, about a week after the sudden power outages began, but the matter worsened on Monday when power outages spread across the country. country for up to six hours. Some towns like Naranjal remained without power for up to 20 hours, prompting people to take to the streets to protest. Faced with the new crisis, Noboa responded that it would be “sabotage” to prevent victory in the popular consultation he called and which will be voted on Sunday. As a measure, he asked the Minister of Energy to resign, offered to subsidize 50% of electricity salaries for April and initiated an investigation into the sabotage, the results of which he has already obtained. According to the government, it has submitted to the Public Prosecutor's Office “a complaint regarding the paralysis of the public service against 22 subversives who sought to harm all Ecuadorians, affecting their development and productivity.”

According to the presidential statement, it will not be limited to the “saboteurs” behind the energy crisis, but will also refer to the defense of citizens against “allegations of organized crime,” without clarifying the links between the two. Ecuador's blackouts began in October 2023, and the current government announced the end of the blackouts in February.

The executive authority’s statement does not clarify how long the power outage will continue, but what it warns of is that there will be rationing on the two days of mandatory rest issued by the president, because “maintenance will be carried out on the power plants, which will mean rationing energy at certain, unchangeable times.” It is not yet known how many hours the country will remain in darkness.

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