A massive blackout crippled most of Argentina and Uruguay on Sunday, as well as parts of Paraguay. The culprit seems to be Argentina’s old and poorly maintained power grid:
A massive blackout left tens of millions of people without electricity in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay on Sunday in what the Argentine president called an “unprecedented” failure in the countries’ power grid.
Authorities were working frantically to restore power, and by the evening electricity had returned to 98 percent of Argentina, according to state news agency Telam. Power also had been restored to most of Uruguay’s 3 million people as well as to people in neighboring Paraguay.
On Sunday morning, Argentine voters were forced to cast ballots by the light of cellphones in gubernatorial elections. Public transportation was halted, shops closed and patients dependent on home medical equipment were urged to go to hospitals with generators.
Argentina’s power grid is generally known for being in a state of disrepair, with substations and cables that were insufficiently upgraded as power rates remained largely frozen for years.
Since taking office, Argentine President Macri has said that gradual austerity measures were needed to revive the country’s struggling economy. He has cut red tape and tried to reduce the government’s budget deficit by ordering job cuts and reducing utility subsidies, which he maintained was necessary to recuperate lost revenue due to years-long mismanagement of the electricity sector.
It’s not surprising to see Argentina having these problems with its power grid. Puerto Rico is having the exact same kinds of problems, and the source is massive overspending and indebtedness and massive government corruption. Argentina has been lurching from crisis to crisis since the early 2000s, and the corruption and financial mismanagement has gotten so bad that they are now having problems maintaining basic infrastructure.
It’s a preview of what is coming in the United States in another ten to twenty years, as we suffer from many of the same problems and are just less close to running out of money.