Curaçao grapples with third major power outage in 2023

November 15, 2023  –WILLEMSTAD – Yesterday marked the third substantial power outage, or ‘blackout,’ for Curaçao this year. The power disruptions commenced in the morning with brief interruptions in various neighborhoods, escalating to a complete island-wide blackout later in the afternoon. 

Aqualectra, the primary energy provider in Curaçao, acknowledged the blackout on Facebook but faced challenges identifying the root cause initially. Swift action was taken as technicians were deployed promptly to rectify the power supply. By evening, certain neighborhoods experienced restored stability, although intermittent power disruptions persisted in specific areas. 

A preliminary investigation suggests that the blackout originated from a short circuit in the main cables connecting the Nijlweg and Weis sub-stations, stemming from a cable break. Aqualectra underscored that the outage was not a result of insufficient production capacity. An extensive overhaul at the Mundu Nobo station in August hinted at pre-existing challenges with the power supply. 

Businesses without backup generators, including stores and offices, had to close prematurely. Traffic congestion arose at intersections lacking operational traffic lights, such as Biesheuvel. Overall, road users demonstrated discipline amid the disruption. 

Critical institutions, including the Curaçao International Airport and the Curaçao Medical Center, encountered no issues thanks to their backup generators. Operations continued normally, with planes landing and taking off, and patients receiving treatment without major disruptions. 

The economic repercussions of the blackout are substantial, echoing similar events in June this year. Aqualectra’s management had previously signaled the need for fundamental changes in power production and distribution. 

Anticipations are high for Aqualectra to provide detailed insights shortly into the causes of the recent failure and the implemented measures to avert future occurrences. 

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