Ecuador sees nationwide power outage as electrical grid fails

Ecuador suffered a nationwide blackout for several hours Wednesday as the electrical grid failed, with metro services, road traffic and other critical services crippled.

The blackout hit abruptly just after 3:00 pm local time, surprising subway riders in the capital Quito as trains came to a halt and hundreds of people were evacuated.

Some were forced to walk long distances through dark metro tunnels until finding an exit.

Three hours after the stoppage hit, Energy Minister Roberto Luque said on X that 95 percent of the service had been restored nationwide.

Earlier, he had announced a "breakdown in the transmission line, which caused a chain of disconnections" leading to a countrywide failure.

Traffic lights in Quito went on the blink and police manned intersections to maintain some semblance of order in the city of three million people.

Within about an hour, power started returning gradually in some places in the capital.

"The incident must have been major because it even knocked out power to the metro, which has its own separate system," Quito Mayor Pabel Munoz said on X.

He had ordered the deployment of special teams to help anyone who may be trapped, prevent accidents and "take care of public spaces."

Luque said: "For years there has been a lack of investment in these systems and electrical grids and today we are suffering the consequences."

'Stock up'

Street cars in the southern city of Cuenca also stopped running.


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