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    Costa Rica's last experience of a complete black out dates back from April 2007. | Photo: AFP

Published 1 July 2017

The blackout in Panama occurred about 15 minutes into a major speech delivered by President Juan Carlos Varela to the country's legislature.

A huge power outage hit Central America on Saturday at 1 p.m. local time, causing blackouts from Panama to Costa Rica to Nicaragua, as authorities across the region scrambled to restore supplies.

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Officials at the Costa Rican Institute for Electricity said power was disrupted throughout the entire country but should be fixed later tonight.

"ICE is trying to diagnose the problem," said Communications Minister Mauricio Herrera, referring to the office by its Spanish acronym. He said that workers succeeded in restoring power to some areas of Costa Rica.

Local media have reported minor traffic incidents in the capital and people stuck in elevators as a result of the blackout.

ICE said that the origins of the blackout were outside of the country and urged the public to remain indoors while they try to fix the problem.

In Panama, the ETESA government power authority said via Twitter that the nation had experienced just a "partial blackout" and that workers were trying to restore power to the affected areas.

Nicaragua and El Salvador have also suffered from the outage.

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