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Blackout in 13 States Leaves 70 Million Without Electricity

03/22/2018 - 11h08

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NICOLA PAMPLONA
FROM RIO
CAROLINA LINHARES
FROM SALVADOR

A failure in the energy transmission system from the Belo Monte generation complex left approximately 70 million people without electricity on Wednesday (the 21st). The problem was caused by a circuit breaker at the Xingu substation in the State of Pará, which was inaugurated only three months ago.

The blackout started at 3:48 PM and affected all of the Northeastern states, in addition to Amazonas, Pará, Tocantins and Amapá. There were isolated impacts in the Southeast and Central-West.

As of 7:45 PM, the NOS (National Electrical System Operator) was still working to re-establish electrical energy to the Northeast. "We aren't happy with the time being taken for recomposition, but the procedures need to be carried out cautiously", said the entity's General Director, Luiz Eduardo Barata.

The Belo Monte transmission system was inaugurated in December 2017 and was submitted to tests at its maximum capacity of 4 thousand megawatts (MW) - at the time of the failure it was at 3.7 thousand MW.

The circuit breaker failure took the complex offline from the Nationally Interconnected System (SIN), which is the country's set of electrical energy transmission networks. As a protection procedure, the North, Northeast, and Southeast/Central-West networks were isolated from each other.

The Belo Monte transmission system is operated by the Chinese company State Grid. In a written communication, the company stated that a preliminary analysis revealed that the problem was provoked by the improper functioning of the circuit breaker's protection layer. According to the firm, the system was re-initialized at 4:11 PM.

Translated by LLOYD HARDER

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