Sao Paulo: Blackouts that darkened much of Brazil last week were caused by short circuits in a power substation that prompted the shutdown of three key transmission lines from the planet`s second-largest hydroelectric dam, officials have said.
The short circuits happened Nov. 10 at the substation in the Sao Paulo state town of Itabera while lightning, wind and intense rain were pummelling the area, Brazil`s Mines and Energy Ministry said in a statement, but it did not say weather caused the problem.
Mines and Energy minister Edison Lobao came under criticism last week for blaming severe weather, though experts said the area experienced no lightning strikes.
The blackouts raised questions about Brazil`s ability to supply a stable energy supply for World Cup football competition it will host in 2014 and for the 2016 Olympic
games in Rio de Janeiro.
More than 60 million people lost power for up to four hours in 18 of Brazil`s 26 states. All of Paraguay was briefly darkened and 7 million people in Sao Paulo lost water service.
The short-circuits prompted the automatic shutdown of the lines that carry energy to much of Brazil from the Itaipu dam straddling the border with Paraguay, the statement said.