Ecuador Hit by Nationwide Blackout

Ecuador was plunged into a nationwide blackout on Wednesday afternoon, the country’s public work minister said, blaming the emergency on a failure of a key transmission line.

The minister, Roberto Luque, said in a statement on X that he had received a report from the national electricity operator, CENACE, about “a failure in the transmission line that caused a cascade disconnection, so there is no energy service nationwide.”

He said the authorities were working to resolve the outage “as quickly as possible.”

The South American country of 18 million people has been struggling with an energy crisis for several years. Failing infrastructure, a lack of maintenance and a dependence on imported energy have all contributed to rolling blackouts — though none so widespread as this one.

Around 3:15 p.m. Wednesday, the majority of Ecuadoreans found themselves without power.

Most of the country’s energy comes from neighboring Colombia, a country that has struggled to generate enough power for its own domestic consumption.

A $2.25 billion Chinese-built hydroelectric power plant, the Coca Codo Sinclair Dam, was supposed to help solve Ecuador’s problem. Located on the Coca River in the province of Napo, 62 miles east of Quito, the capital, it is the largest energy project in Ecuador.

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