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What caused Brazil blackout?

November 17th, 2009

lula9President Lula vowed to uncover the “truth” of what caused a massive blackout across half of Brazil last week, and said everything would be done to avoid a repeat outage.

His comments, made in his weekly radio address and given from Rome, where he was attending a UN summit on hunger, underlined the mystery surrounding the blackout on Tuesday.

Up to 70 million people suddenly found themselves without power, creating widespread traffic difficulties and concerns over a surge in crime.

With international media questioning Brazil’s energy stability for the 2016 Olympics, Lula’s government initially blamed the incident on a storm, saying lightning must have shorted out transmission lines from the country’s biggest power plant.

But that explanation was contradicted by official analysis of satellite data that showed there was no lightning strong enough at the time to have caused the outage.

Lula said the National Grid Operator and the energy ministry still insisted a short-circuit in one transmission tower was to blame, but said he “has to hope that all will be investigated so that… we will have the truth and only the truth to inform the Brazilian people.”

He also said that a game of “gotcha” was being played, in response to building criticism from the opposition.

Lula pledged to the Brazilian people “to work intensely so that we avoid incidents like this one occurring again in Brazil.”

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