EFEBuenos Aires

The Argentine government on Wednesday denied responsibility for the power blackouts in recent days that have affected thousands of customers due to the increase in demand for electricity as a result of cold weather, and it pointed to utility firms and distribution companies as the responsible parties.

"We're at a point (in system capacity) where these spikes are handled without any kind of problem ... The distributors have to be resolving their problems so that everyone may have the service to which they're entitled," Argentine Cabinet chief Anibal Fernandez said during his daily press briefing.

"(Power) generation and transport is resolved," he added, and so "there shouldn't be any problems" due to lack of capacity.

In recent days, thousands of people have experienced prolonged power blackouts around the country, especially in Buenos Aires and its metropolitan area.

The cuts are occurring because of increased electricity demand amid the current low temperatures and they are affecting coverage zones of Edenor and Edesur, controlled by the Spanish firm Endesa, according to local media outlets.

"When there is a cold wave like this, this type of situation develops," Fernandez said, adding that the government's planning guarantees electricity service and blaming the utility companies, although he acknowledged that "much more work needs to be done on this," given that the blackouts due to demand spikes are a recurring problem in both winter and summer.

Besides electricity problems, the government is facing threats of strikes by gas sector workers, who are demanding progress in collective bargaining negotiations.

Fernandez said that a strike would be "a tremendously irresponsible" act by the unions, particularly when avenues for dialogue exist that could spare society from "a deed that could cause serious problems."