This is the house that left almost 3 million people in Argentina without electricity

On Avenida Eva Perón at 6900, in the Buenos Aires district of San Martín, there are several light posts in which there are still traces of the last legislative elections. They have rectangular white papers stuck with large letters in blue capital letters that say “ALL”, with the image of a sun replacing the letter O, followed by the official campaign phrase: “The life we ​​want.”

More than a dozen electricity cables hang from the poles that do not exceed three meters in height.

Around, the construction of houses with exposed bricks that coexist within centimeters of those grows power lines. Only chance wanted the massive power outage that yesterday left 700 thousand users without supply has not happened before. At least that is the conclusion that was left to LA NACION after touring the place and talking with the neighbors who saw the beginning of the blackout.

Yesterday at 1:10 p.m. there was a new record of electricity consumption in Argentina, when the thermometer in the metropolitan area of ​​Buenos Aires (AMBA) marked 33.3 ° C. System demand reached 27,234 megawatts (MW) and surpassed the previous peak, produced just two weeks earlier, on December 29.


When there are such high demands on electricity, the cables heat up and buckle, generating a downward curve that brings them down several inches from their usual location. When this physical phenomenon is combined with construction without planning and without state control, the result is a disaster.

Ricardo Yapura hired the internet provider Soluciones Inalámbricas SN five years ago, which installed an antenna on the terrace of his two-story house. Yesterday at noon, that antenna short-circuited with Edenor’s 220kV high-voltage line, which links the Morón transformer stations with Malaver’s. Instantly, an electric arc occurred in the house of Mónica Motta, her neighbor who is two houses away, and started a fire. This combination of events took the power company’s cables out of service. It was the origin of the blackout, according to Edenor explained.

Motta is a user of the distributor, like Yapura. All the homes located on the block have meters and receive their electricity bills, which range from $ 1,500 to $ 6,000 per month. They are houses where the natural gas through the network does not arrive and they must be supplied with carafes, which are more expensive. Therefore, electricity is your main source of energy in summer and winter.

Both neighbors have lived for more than 20 years in the La Esmeralda neighborhood, in San Martín. Between them there is another house where, less than six months ago, the walls of what was to be a third floor were built. Yesterday, after the incident occurred, Edenor technicians had him cut four rows of 12-centimeter bricks, which were almost touching the high-tension cables.


“A loud explosion was heard that made the whole house move. We instantly ran out of power, ”Yapura tells LA NACION, who describes that part of the walls of the second-floor room were black. “My wife was with the boys. Luckily the two girls, who usually use the computer, were in the colony. I don’t know what would have happened to them if not, because all the internet cable that connects it was burned, “he adds.

Yapura was lucky her house didn’t catch fire. He says it was thanks to the neighbors who came quickly to contain the situation. “I’ve lived here for 20 years, I do remis and mechanics work. Everyone knows me and came to help, that’s why I just burned little things, ”he says with relief.


At 9 o’clock at night the electricity had already returned to the house. “The Virgen del Valle helps me a lot,” he adds. Your next step is to call the internet company to install a new antenna, since they took the old one, which had caused the short circuit. “They said it was better to put it up there to have more signal,” he says.

Monica Motta, however, was not so lucky. The short circuit generated a magnetic discharge on the home television and set fire to the entire room of his daughters, a bathroom and part of another room. The fire burned the closet with the girls’ clothes, beds and a computer, in addition to the television.

“My two-year-six-month-old son had been in that room for a few minutes before the explosion looking at little pictures. Then he went to the pool where the rest of the boys were and luckily there were no injuries ”, he says. While talking with LA NACION, a neighbor comes to donate a bag with clothes for the daughters, who lost all their belongings.


Your partner, meanwhile, has the hammer in hand and is installing the new cables and light fixtures. It cost the family almost $ 40,000 to buy all the tools, which they got quickly thanks to a loan from a friend locksmith. Neither the Edenor inspectors nor the Civil Defense inspectors, who were the ones who visited the place yesterday, guaranteed them financial aid.

The firefighters and the police also approached, but there were no inspectors from the municipality, led by Fernando Moreira, or from the National Electricity Regulatory Entity (ENRE), intervened by Soledad Manin, despite the fact that the incident left 700,000 users without electricity. .

* The Grupo de Diarios América (GDA), to which it belongs THE UNIVERSAL, is a leading media network founded in 1991, which promotes democratic values, independent press and freedom of expression in Latin America through quality journalism for our audiences.

vare / rcr

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