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Chile's Power Supply Normalized Gradually After Blackout

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Chile's National Emergency Office (Onemi) said on Monday that 98 percent of the power supply has been restored after the blackout on Sunday night.

On Sunday at 9:40 PM local time (2440 GMT) there was a failure of the Central Interconnected System which made most of the country out of power, including the capital Santiago.

The Office's director, Vicente Nunez, said that it was a technical failure of the electrical central system, and in some zones the service will remain unstable, for example in Bio Bio region, where the failure originated and the service has not been normalized yet.

While a general evaluation is being done, Nunez said that the country "should know how to react" under these kinds of situations and a new blackout "could always happen."

Meanwhile, Energy Minister Ricardo Raineri said that the system will be normalized after over six months due to the fragility of its networks after the earthquake on Feb. 27.

Raineri also said that there is possibility of more blackouts, "but now we are inviting the people to help us. As long as we do not recover the security level, we are going to be in a critical situation."

However, superintendent of Electricity and Fuels, Patricia Chotzen said that there is an investigation being carried out to determine whether the blackout was due to an artificialness or maintenance failure in a transformer of the sub-station Charrua, because according to her, this kind of failure is not common.

(Xinhua News Agency March 16, 2010)

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