Ecuador says officials hid information amid energy crisis

Ecuador says officials hid information amid energy crisis

The Government of Ecuador said that more than 20 high-level officials of the Ministry of Energy were accused of intentionally hiding information about problems in the supply of electricitywhile the country deals with a serious crisis that has generated planned cuts.

A drought caused by the El Niño climate phenomenon has affected the production of hydroelectric dams, Ecuador's main source of electricity.

President Daniel Noboa declared an energy emergency on Tuesday and entrusted the strategic Energy portfolio to the current Minister of Transportation, Roberto Luque.

Former minister Andrea Arrobo and other officials would have hidden information, Noboa's office said it's a statement. “A complaint was filed with the Prosecutor's Office for paralysis of public service against 22 saboteurs who sought to harm all Ecuadorians,” the statement said.

“The power cuts not only responded to environmental circumstances, but to unprecedented acts of corruption and negligence,” he added. Arrobo could not immediately be reached for comment.

In response, the government will cover 50% of households' electricity bills in April, Noboa's office said, and decreed “the suspension of the working day on Thursday, April 18 and Friday, April 19”, although important government offices will continue to work.

National energy rationing is already taking place, with some outages lasting around five hours. In January, the National Assembly approved a bill presented by Noboa to modernize the country's electricity sector and avoid electrical rationing.