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Power Outages Expose Flaws in Nicaragua’s Energy Overhaul

LADB Article ID: 80212
Category/Department: Nicaragua
Date: 2017-02-16
By: Benjamin Witte-Lebhar

Back-to-back blackouts left Nicaraguans quite literally in the dark last month and turned new attention to the country’s much hailed “energy revolution,” which for all the accolades it receives, is still very much a work in progress. The first and most disruptive of the power outages occurred Jan. 9, one day, incidentally, before Nicaragua’s controversial leader, Daniel Ortega, was sworn in for his third consecutive five-year term as president (NotiCen, Jan. 19, 2017). The blackout began at approximately 9:30 a.m. and affected residents throughout the country, El Nuevo Diario reported. Authorities weren’t able to restore power for some communities until the afternoon. Residents in other areas had to wait until 8 or 9 p.m. before the lights finally went back on. The lengthy electricity failure also knocked out cell phone and Internet service and left an estimated 600,000 people without running water, according to Vice President Rosario Murillo, who is also the country’s first lady. Many parts of Nicaragua depend on electric-powered pumps to bring water up from aquifers and deliver it to people’s homes. Without electricity, faucets run dry.

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