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Ecuador struck by power outage, faulty transmission line blamed

People walk outside of a metro station after a nationwide blackout, in Quito, Ecuador, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa) People walk outside of a metro station after a nationwide blackout, in Quito, Ecuador, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
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QUITO -

A nationwide electricity outage struck Ecuador on Wednesday, leaving the nation of some 18 million in the dark, including the capital's subway system, as authorities worked to repair faulty power lines, a senior official said on Wednesday.

"There is a failure in the transmission line that caused a cascade disconnection, so there's no electricity at a national scale," Public Works Minister Roberto Luque said in a post on X.

Luque also serves as the country's acting energy minister.

A Reuters witness said there was confusion on the streets of Quito, the capital, as traffic lights ceased working.

Operations of Quito's subway system have also ground to a halt.

"Due to a general failure of the national interconnected electrical energy system, the operation of the Quito Metro is interrupted while the systems are restarted and verified," the metro system said on X.

In April, Ecuadorean President Daniel Noboa declared an energy emergency and announced planned electricity cuts.

While the South American country has struggled with a drought affecting hydro-electricity power generation, heavy rains over the weekend forced authorities to take three  plants offline.

The weekend rains provoked a landslide that killed at least 17 people and left 19 others injured. The disaster prompted Ecuador's private OCP oil pipeline to suspend operations and declare force majeure.

(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Editing by Anthony Esposito and Leslie Adler)

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