Saturday, April 21, 2007

Oh, all right.

Fine. I'll read the dang newspaper.

Online, of course.

(This is a follow up to the entry posted earlier today and will make more sense if you've already read that.)

Apparently what we have is a system of rationing. Damage to a 40 megawatt turbine earlier this month had caused a reduction in the amount of energy generated, and damage to three others (in three different places) on Wednesday brought the supply down to the point where it couldn't meet the demand, and the reserves had already been depleted by the first incident. It doesn't say how the turbines were damaged.

Gilbert (our stone mason for the week) was right about the coming days; somehow, they're going to be able to leave the power on all weekend, but are planning on a rationing system for all of next week. The main power company dictates to the distributors how much power they each have to conserve per day, and the distributors are responsible for...well, distributing the cuts among the various districts they serve.

Hospitals, industry and emergency response units are not supposed to be affected, and the distributors are supposed to keep any given district from losing power for more than two hours at a time (which, itself, would be an improvement).

Ah. [Reads article while composing blog entry] Politics also comes into it, because apparently Panama used to sell energy to Costa Rica, but stopped a month ago. Plus what I mentioned earlier about the dry season affecting the hydroelectric plants. Plus the turbine. So I guess it all came to a head on Wednesday.

Note to self: Just make the coffee before 3:00. Make the coffee early and make sure Robin has the rechargeable flashlight, and everything will be just fine.


Kit April 21, 2007 11:47 AM  

It sounds like the situation we had around Cape Town at the end of last year - intermittant outages, for unpredictable lengths of time, then gaps when the power was on just to lull you into a false sense of security before they switched it off again.

The worrying thing here is that out electricity is generated by a nuclear power station not all that far away that is getting on in years - no need to panic they stress.

The shops sold out of gas bottles, lamp oil/paraffin, wicks, candles and things like torches. Luckily we have a gas hob, so can at least heat water for tea and coffee.

I highly recommend one of those camping gas rings and a supply of paraffin lamps, if it looks like being an ongoing situation...completely messes up the blogging habit too!

Jennifer April 21, 2007 11:58 AM  

Yeah, I figure it's a little late to go shopping for an emergency light - surely they are long sold out or outrageously priced by now!

But we have enough candles and fortunately the schedules aren't too bad. Also, my neighborhood is on a different schedule than my in-laws', so there's always chance of escape if necessary!

As for the blogging; yes, it has had disastrous effects on that, hasn't it!

Anonymous May 03, 2007 10:39 AM  

On Thursday April 19th there was a countrywide blackout due to a circuit explosion at a reservoir that provides electricity, the power outage lasted about 3 hours or so. Most of Costa Rica’s energy is powered hydroelectrically, dry season in this country is from January to April, this year has been a particularly dry one, causing very low water levels in the reservoirs and lakes that provide the water to make electricity. Due to the low water levels, the electric plants are functioning at a lower than usual capacity. I.C.E. (Costa Rican Electricity Institute), has started to implement temporary rolling blackouts for a few hours at a time in different sectors of the country, one area will have a loss of electricity for 2 – 3 hours then the blackout will “roll” on to another area. Most tourist areas are not very affected by this for several reasons; I.C.E. has limited itself to shutting off power in more residential and metropolitan areas, the tourist spots are pretty much left alone. Many tourist oriented companies have generators to keep the electricity running. You may experience minor inconveniences if staying in the downtown San Jose area.
The blackout is strictly a temporary situation that should be resolved shortly, rainy season starts in May and extends into November or December, meaning it should begin to rain in the next few days, thus the reservoirs can return to full functioning capacity. If you are planning a trip in the next while to Costa Rica there is no need to cancel it, just contact an agent at and they can assist you in choosing an appropriate area, more importantly one that is not affected by the power outages.

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