Strong Rain and Lightning Caused Brazil 17-State Blackout

Rio blackout Brazilian experts from different hydroelectric power sectors in Brazil came to the conclusion that the blackout on November 10th occurred due to the association of electrical discharges and strong rain that hit transmission lines from Itaipu Power Station, between the cities of Ivaiporã, in Paraná state, and Itaberá, in São Paulo state.

The climate phenomena were responsible for simultaneous short circuit in many other areas causing the blackout in 17 Brazilian states and the Federal District, according to testimonies given in the Brazilian senate by these specialists.

The public hearing was the second one held by the committees on Infrastructure Service and Economic Affairs to debate the blackout causes. The debate was supposed also to analyze the situation in the Brazilian Electric System, the monitoring of actions to be taken and the investments to be made in the sector.

The director on System Operation and Energy Trade in Furnas Electric Power Station, Cesar Ribeiro Zani, said there is no doubt that the cause of the blackout were the atmospheric discharges and strong rain, which reduced the insulation capacity of the insulator in Itaipu.

"We are looking for solutions for the problem," explained the Furnas’ manager.

Gilberto Câmara, director of the Brazilian National Institute of Spatial Research (INPE), came to the same conclusion. He explained that the INPE did not detect any high intensity lightning which might, alone, explain the blackout. However, lightning, when in association with strong rain, may be the cause of short circuits.

Professor Djalma Mosqueira Falcão, from Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), highlighted that blackouts are inevitable, but they are "events of very small probability," which happened every five years in Brazil, in the average.

"The last blackout in Brazil took place in 2002, " observed Djalma Mosqueira. He believes it is necessary to check if society wants to pay more for the energy bill every month in order to invest in reducing events like these.

The hearing was chaired by the president and vice president of the Infrastructure Service Committee, senator and former president of Brazil Fernando Collor, from Alagoas PTB and senator Eliseu Resende, from Minas Gerais DEM party.

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