Authorities are investigating the cause of the fault that caused power outage in Panama

By Elida Moreno

Panamanian authorities are investigating the causes of failure in a power transmission line that led to a power outage in much of the territory on Sunday, as the country prepares to welcome the Pope Francisco and thousands of pilgrims attending the World Youth Day (JMJ) of the 22 al 27 from January.

The power outage forced the general public institutions and private enterprise to activate emergency systems for several hours, while firefighters evacuated dozens of Panama metro passengers had to suspend service due to lack of energy.

Business associations warned that the blackout affected the fluid in shopping centers and private buildings, many of whom also had to activate emergency teams to stock own power, without detailing the amount of possible losses.

The general manager of the Electricity Transmission Company (ETESA), Gilberto Ferrari said that in primary care centers "have worked all security protocols ...", which it allowed vital services such as hospitals, airports, and ports were suspended.

Transmission plant ETESA.

Similarly, at Tocumen International Airport, the largest air terminal, and in Paso Canoas the border with Costa Rica, the entry of visitors, mostly pilgrims who come to attend WYD developed normally.

Also the Panama Canal, where it circulates around the 5% world trade, and it is crucial for the growth of the economy, activated its backup systems to restore affected by the failure electricity in a transmission line.

The canal authority said through his Twitter account that "... the transit of ships is normally maintained" by the waterway that has its own power generation system.

The general power outage "was raised by an event in a line that brings power from La Chorrera (west) to Panama, producing a fault ... ", ETESA manager said at a press conference accompanied by President Juan Carlos Varela.

When asked if the blackout was caused by the increase in energy demand following the celebration of WYD, Ferrari said no, Noting that the country is ready to meet the needs of thousands of visitors and the usual demand.

Yet the origin of the fault is determined, since the case is under investigation, Ferrari said.

The executive said it is still premature to determine whether it was a regional power outage, but said that when "... we were recovering the system, after the initial cause, Something happened in the regional system, we can not determine whether it was in Nicaragua or elsewhere, which he caused what had recovered fail again ".