As summer approaches – and in the face of the evident heat wave suffered by neighboring countries such as Brazil – intrigue and concern about how high temperatures will impact people's daily lives begins to grow. The bad memory of other summers with power cuts is also added to the recent comments by Diana Mondino (future Foreign Minister of Argentina) and José Luis Manzano (Edenor), about the weakness of the energy grid in a scenario of extreme brands.
The National Meteorological Service (SMN) has already confirmed that the country will record above-normal temperatures and close to extreme values during the summer that will begin in less than a month. Given the potential vulnerability of the energy supply, there are already concerns among people to look for alternatives, such as the possibility of acquiring a generator.
Already in 2023 the heat broke historical records with a minimum of 28 degrees in March; in contrast, there were power cuts for months in several parts of Ciudad and GBA. Clarín covered many of them, which occurred in Villa Lugano, Villa Devoto, Villa del Parque and areas of Greater Buenos Aires.
In February, it was reported that more than 40,000 users in the city and the suburbs of Buenos Aires had problems with their electricity supply. There were even incidents with the police and highway blockades that lasted for days due to the people's complaints. Many asked companies like Edesur for financial compensation for the irreparable damage to electrical appliances.
A postcard that is repeated during prolonged power outages, in this case in Vicente López. Photo: Néstor Sieira
Now, that fear is latent again at the start of December. This week, José Luis Manzano, owner of Edenor, was blunt about the possibility that the heat could produce cuts again.
"The Edenor network is a good network for 42 degrees Celsius, but if there are 44 or 45 degrees like in Europe, we are going to dance, we are going to have a terrible end of the year," he emphasized.
This comment was not the only one that in the last few hours put neighbors and merchants from all over the country on alert.
At a conference held by the Argentine Industrial Union, Diana Mondino, the country's future Foreign Minister, gave a warning to industrialists: "In January and February, if you don't have a generator, buy it. Because if the industry is reactivated a little, there is not enough for everyone. It's not enough for what's there."
Mondino's statements quickly went viral on social networks and users began to speculate about the possibility of such a scenario materializing, not only for industrialists but also for the common people.
In 2014, Clarín already reported that groups of neighbors paid through expenses to buy electric generators in the midst of heat waves in the summer. Since then, the power outages have deepened and become more and more extensive as the days go by. The alarm bells, now, seem to have gone off again.
A generator set placed during the February 2020 power outages in Villa del Parque. Photo: EFE
"Today was hell in terms of consultations. Many called today about this issue, to ask about generators because of what Mondino said. I think it's hasty to make a comment like that, because people go crazy very quickly," says the person in charge of Grupo Electrógeno Marsiglione.
The trade currently works at dollar prices because months ago suppliers sold them materials in that type of currency: "When we have to buy that way, we also have to sell with that type of currency, or in pesos but at the unofficial exchange rate."
When asked about the prices of equipment for the summer, he explains: "A generator set that can be used to get out of an emergency and supply a television, refrigerator and a freezer is costing 900 dollars. In this case, the power is 3,000 watts. But for a business it will always depend on what you want to supply, for example, an ice cream parlor can be in the order of $3,500 for an 8,000-watt equipment."
In addition, equipment that has an apparent power of between 30 and 50 kva can cost as much as $12,000.
At Gaucho Multirep, located on Warnes Avenue, the price list that is shared is in pesos and from September to November it received general increases in all its equipment.
Currently, an average household group of 6,500 watts is worth 748,000 pesos, when in September it was worth 600,000 pesos. In the case of generators for small businesses, they are selling it for 9,900,000 pesos, when in September it cost 8,000,000 pesos.
An industrial generator set for some not so large factory with about 200 kva was sold at 18,000,000 pesos in September but now it costs 20,700,000 pesos.
From this trade they assure that the situation regarding the sale of electric generators for the summer may get complicated: "Nothing has been approved for two months in terms of restrictions on imports and that plus the problem with the exchange rate may finally generate a shortage of stock in a short time".