Power outage sweeps Panama but canal not affected

PANAMA CITY Mon Feb 25, 2013 5:25pm EST

PANAMA CITY Feb 25 (Reuters) - Large swathes of Panama were hit by a power outage on Monday although the country's canal, one of the world's major trade routes, was not affected and remained open, authorities said.

It was not immediately clear what caused the outage.

"There was an incident at the Panamanian Electricity System, which caused an interruption in service that brought the whole system down," Empresa de Transmisi├│n El├ęctrica (Etesa), one of Panama's chief electricity providers, said in a statement.

Etesa gave no further details.

A source close to the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), which manages the canal, said the waterway remained open.

Nearly 220 million tonnes of cargo crossed the canal in 2012, according to Panama Canal Authority data.