The Heat Is Online

Drought Causes Blackouts In Chile


The New York Times, April 7, 1999

Authorities expanded planned power cuts across the country, including districts of Santiago, the capital, and warned of daily blackouts for a minimum of six to eight weeks. Other provincial towns and cities have had daily power cuts since last Wednesday. The blackouts are the results of equipment failure and a severe drought that reduced water for hydroelectric power dams. (Reuters)

Power Crisis: Industrialists Strike Back

The News Review -- The Chilean Newspaper in English, May 6, 1999

Industrialists Association president Felipa Lamarca blasted Chilean President Eduardo Frei on Thursday for threatening to halt the privatisation of public utilities if electricity generators did not take drastic measures to end nearly a month of power rationing…

Widespread public dissatisfaction with the administration’s management of the crisis prompted the President to draft legislation to resolve the country’s growing electricity deficit.

In a televised broadcast Monday night, Frei announced that a legislative package sent to Congress to increase state supervision of the electricity sector would be given "super urgent status." This means the Senate and Chamber of Deupties have 10 days each to discuss and vote upon the measure…The bills would…force generators to compensate customers for losses incurred as a result of the power outages.

Rationing is extended to six hours a day in Santiago when Endesa’s hydro power stations of Antuco, El Toro and El Abanico shutdown for lack of water. Daily blackouts in the capital have lasted from two to three hours.

Three years of drought have exhausted most of the reservoirs that supply hydroelectrinc plants which, in a normal year, produce 50 to 60 percent of Chile’s power.