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Fri Mar 15, 2019, 06:52 AM

A clear example of The Guardian lying about the Venezuelan blackout?

Last edited Fri Mar 15, 2019, 07:35 AM - Edit history (3)

A Guardian report today Friday March 15th, byline Joe Parkin Daniels in Caracas (link below) appears to falsely assert that a report from the Central University of Venezuela’s faculty of engineering confirms that the blackout was caused by a bush fire, and supports this assertion by linking to an earlier Guardian article published on Wednesday March 13th, byline Sam Jones (no location provided) which informs us that "According to Rodrigo Linares, a mechanical engineer and writer for the Caracas Chronicles website, the fault occurred on one of the main power lines between the San Gerónimo B and Malena substations." A link is provided to an article by this Roberto Linares published at the Caracas Chronicles website on March 10th.

The article by Roberto Linares, who decribes himself as "Many interests, little time. Mechanical Engineer, first from USB, later from MIT. Making a living as a machine designer.", informs us that "From people inside the electric industry, we know that an overheat alarm was triggered between the San Geronimo B and Malena substations, which are like nodes... The engineers suspect that the overheat alarm was triggered by a forest fire." In support of this speculation (no evidence is provided of the existence of such a bush or forest fire), Roberto Linares notes that "It is mandatory to keep vegetation trimmed under and around power lines, to avoid the risk of this kind of events. Anyone that has driven by the countryside and under these large power lines would see there’s a corridor under the lines. These corridors haven’t been maintained in years and there is a very hot summer going on. In a tropical country, this means the bushes can cover a line very fast."

Whatever reason The Guardian's Joe Parkin Daniels in Caracas might have for alleging the existence of a report from the Central University of Venezuela’s faculty of engineering (which is nowhere mentioned in the sources provided) allegedly confirming that the blackout was caused by a bush fire, he provides no evidence, beyond speculation written by a blogger.


I followed these links:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/14/venezuela-blackout-power-returns -> Joe Parkin Daniels in Caracas Thu 14 Mar 2019 21.51 GMT Last modified on Thu 14 Mar 2019 21.53 GMT
A new report from the Central University of Venezuela’s faculty of engineering confirmed that the blackout was caused when a bush fire near the Malena substation in eastern Venezuela took out a vital section of the country’s power grid. ->

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/13/venezuela-blackout-what-caused-it-and-what-happens-next -> According to Rodrigo Linares, a mechanical engineer and writer for the Caracas Chronicles website, the fault occurred on one of the main power lines between the San Gerónimo B and Malena substations. When that 765-kilovolt line went down, two others suffered an overload and also failed. ->

https://www.caracaschronicles.com/2019/03/10/nationwide-blackout-in-venezuela-faq/ -> From people inside the electric industry, we know that an overheat alarm was triggered between the San Geronimo B and Malena substations, which are like nodes. San Geronimo B is just South of Valle de La Pascua (Guarico state, central plains); Malena is a bit in the middle of nowhere, between Bolivar’s Trocal 19 and the Orinoco River. From San Geronimo B substation, comes the electric load to power all the TVs, light bulbs, blenders, etc. At Malena substation end the cables that come directly from the turning water wheels of the Guri dam. If you follow the lines from Guri, the country’s main dam South of Ciudad Guayana, they go North from Guri to Malena and San Geronimo, and from there it splits into several lines going to the central region and then to the rest of the country (East and West).

This particular corridor carries three 765 kV (kilovolts) power lines, which are the largest and most important lines of the country. One of these lines, apparently the one between San Geronimo B and Malena, went out and overloaded the other two, so all three died. When all of a sudden the lines went off and power wasn’t getting through, not only all those TVs, blenders and lights went off: the water wheels started to spin out of control (in the industry we call this scenario a “load rejection”). Protections systems kicked in and the turbines shut themselves off, hopefully with no damage...

... The engineers suspect that the overheat alarm was triggered by a forest fire. It is mandatory to keep vegetation trimmed under and around power lines, to avoid the risk of this kind of events. Anyone that has driven by the countryside and under these large power lines would see there’s a corridor under the lines. These corridors haven’t been maintained in years and there is a very hot summer going on. In a tropical country, this means the bushes can cover a line very fast...

... Rodrigo Linares: Many interests, little time. Mechanical Engineer, first from USB, later from MIT. Making a living as a machine designer.




Foreign Affairs: https://www.democraticunderground.com/113323692


Edit: ... At the time of this writing I see no sign of any similar story at the AP, AFP, nor Reuters agencies.
AFP's latest on Venezuela tells us that:

Experts said an attack by a foreign state actor on Venezuela's grid was possible, but unlikely.

"Knowing Venezuela, it was likely an internal failure," Jeff Middleton, the chief technology officer at The Vault Foundation, a company that secures crypto currency transactions, told AFP.

Venezuela's infrastructure has degraded over years because of lack of investment, a significant brain drain, and the government's practice of putting the military in charge of key civilian facilities and companies. That has impacted not only the electricity grid but also the country's vital oil industry. The situation has worsened with successive rounds of US sanctions against Maduro's government, including steps that have severely curbed its oil exports.

- China, Spain offer help -


While Reuters has:

Military intervention not an answer for Venezuela - Colombia president tells paper

and:

Bolivia's Morales says Venezuela needs dialogue, not foreign meddling

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Reply A clear example of The Guardian lying about the Venezuelan blackout? (Original post)
Ghost Dog Friday OP
Ghost Dog Friday #1
MRubio Friday #2
Ghost Dog Friday #3
MRubio Friday #4

Response to Ghost Dog (Original post)

Fri Mar 15, 2019, 07:54 AM

1. Regarding such "overheat alarms",

the Scientific American provided this information in August 2017:

August 14, 2003, was a typical warm day in the Midwest. But shortly after 2:00 P.M. several power lines in northern Ohio, sagging under the high current they were carrying, brushed against some overgrown trees and shut down. Such a disturbance usually sets off alarms in a local utility’s control room, where human operators work with controllers in neighboring regions to reroute power flows around the injury site.

On this day, however, the alarm software failed, leaving local operators unaware of the problem. Other controllers who were relaying, or “wheeling,” large amounts of power hundreds of miles across Ohio, Michigan, the northeastern U.S. and Ontario, Canada, were oblivious, too. Transmission lines surrounding the failure spot, already fully taxed, were forced to shoulder more than their safe quota of electricity.

To make matters worse, utilities were not generating enough “reactive power”—an attribute of the magnetic and electric fields that move current along a wire. Without sufficient reactive power to support the suddenly shifting flows, overburdened lines in Ohio cut out by 4:05 P.M. In response, a power plant shut down, destabilizing the system’s equilibrium. More lines and more plants dropped out. The cascade continued, faster than operators could track with the decades-old monitoring equipment that dots most of the North American power grid, and certainly much faster than they could control. Within eight minutes 50 million people across eight states and two Canadian provinces had been blacked out. The event was the largest power loss in North American history...

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Response to Ghost Dog (Original post)

Fri Mar 15, 2019, 10:17 AM

2. So what do you think?

Sabotage? A drone flying overhead downloading garbage into the system's computers to start the cascading failures?

I don't know. What I do know is what I see with my own eyes having lived here for 20 years which is years of neglect of the public utilities at most every level of government here. I'd like to know how many time I've told my woman, "I don't know how these guys manage to keep the lights on".

We're in the big middle of summer here right now. It's dry as a popcorn fart in this area, I'm sure to the south as well. I see fires starting all the time on the mountains near here where no one lives or would have reason to burn. To believe that the brush under a set of power lines was overgrown and could have started a fire hot enough to burn the lines overhead is not beyond belief. It's why those areas are normally kept clear of all brush.

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Response to MRubio (Reply #2)

Fri Mar 15, 2019, 07:59 PM

3. I think all this provides us all with much food for thought, MRubio.

I have lived, self-exiled from England, these last thirty years in Spain, beginning in Catalonia and making a home in the Canary Islands.
To understand the Castillian language and in general more and more of Hispanic past and present culture, and that of all the cultures in this vecinity, is, I feel, a great privilege that has involved me in much experience of life outside the English-speaking North Atlantic bubble.

I thank you for all information that contributes to that understanding. Please permit me to transmit my respects towards your woman and family.

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Response to Ghost Dog (Reply #3)

Fri Mar 15, 2019, 08:32 PM

4. You're most gracious Ghost Dog, as are most Brits I've met.

In another life I had an office in Reading and a company based in Guernsey, the Channel Islands.

I obviously relate to your desires to live in another country, and learn about another culture. Most Americans think the world revolves around them, and have no clue how the rest of the world lives.

Just in case you missed it, perhaps the article in this thread will be of interest to you.

https://www.democraticunderground.com/110866295

I appreciate your posts to my threads. Perhaps we disagree from time to time on issues, but it's always a pleasure discussing ideas with you.

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