Ecuador faced a nationwide blackout on Wednesday, leaving all 17 million residents without power for several hours. The blackout was a result of maintenance and transmission issues within the country’s electrical system, according to authorities. Public Infrastructure Minister Roberto Luque explained during a news conference that the outages were caused by a lack of investment in maintenance, new electrical transmission, and the protection of the electrical infrastructure.

By Wednesday night, the government reported that energy had been restored to 95% of the country. This blackout is just one of the many challenges Ecuador has been facing in its ongoing energy crisis. President Daniel Noboa declared an energy emergency back in April, implementing eight-hour nationwide power cuts due to a drought affecting power generation.

In the capital city of Quito, the blackout impacted two hospitals, including a children’s medical center. Fortunately, both hospitals were able to rely on their generators to maintain power shortly after the outage began. In Guayaquil, the nation’s largest city, two hospitals also experienced brief power cuts but were able to use their own generators for backup power.

Residents in Guayaquil had to endure the blackout in sweltering heat, making the situation even more difficult. One resident shared, “It’s unbearable, it’s so hot and humid, and we can’t use an air conditioner or a ventilator. On top of this, the water is not running.” The blackout also affected the subway system in Quito, causing disruptions in service despite the subway having an isolated electrical system.

Minister Luque mentioned that the blackout could have been prevented if Ecuador had invested in safeguarding the infrastructure for power generation and transmission after a similar outage occurred in 2004. He clarified that this recent blackout was unrelated to the energy crisis in April, which was caused by a lack of investment in new power generation and maintenance of existing power sources.

The situation in Ecuador serves as a reminder of the importance of investing in reliable and sustainable energy infrastructure to prevent such widespread outages. It highlights the need for continued maintenance and modernization of electrical systems to ensure the uninterrupted supply of power to homes, hospitals, and essential services. As Ecuador works to recover from this blackout, it is crucial for the government to prioritize energy infrastructure improvements to prevent future crises.