Some 40,000 households and businesses remain without power as of Friday morning, January 12 (local time), following a large-scale blackout that hit the city of Buenos Aires on Thursday. Mass power outages are regular occurrences in the capital region in the summer months (November to April) due to increased air conditioning use that puts a major strain on the city’s failing electrical grid, particularly during periods of particularly intense heat. Buenos Aires province, as well as other areas in the center of the country, is currently experiencing a heatwave, for which the national weather service SMN has issued orange alerts, the second-highest level.
The outages regularly result in traffic disruptions due to nonfunctioning traffic lights as well as spontaneous and planned street protests. Crime rates may also rise after nightfall in areas without street lighting.
In December 2015, just after coming into power, President Mauricio Macri declared a state of emergency regarding the country’s deficient electricity infrastructure. The issue is being addressed but is not expected to be resolved until at least 2019.
Individuals in Buenos Aires are advised to be prepared for power cuts throughout the coming summer, limit the use of appliances during heatwaves, avoid all protests, and be cautious when driving or crossing streets if traffic signals are not functioning.