Lights Out In Rio Could Have A Whole New Meaning

As part of our report regarding air conditioning in the athletes’ village first being cut, then being reinstated by Rio 2016 organizers, we also pointed to a looming issue regarding the provider of overall electricity at the Olympic Games.

Included in our report from December 3rd was the fact that Rio organizers have yet to sign a contract with a private energy supplier, leaving the use of temporary generators as the contingency plan. However, the electricity company Aggreko, who would have also provided the aforementioned generators, has reportedly pulled out of the contract bidding.

The role of electricity supplier is, as one would expect, a vital part of a successful Olympic Games.  Contracts typically include the guarantee of a stable and secure energy supply for the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as the myriad of broadcasting support needed.

Rio 2016 spokesman Mario Andrada told Reuters that he is “confident in the abilities of the companies still in contention” for the job, although Aggreko was indeed the power supplier for both the 2008 Games in Beijing and the 2012 Games in London, as well as the 2014 Commonwealth Games in its home base city of Glasgow, Scotland.

Why did Aggreko pull out of the power provider candidacy? No one is 100% sure, although industry experts suggest that they had “tired of 2-year-old negotiations, as well as constant changes in both the scope of the Olympic Games tender and who would be paying – the government or the organizing committee.”  Ironically, industry experts also say that whoever ends up winning the electricity bid would have to turn back to Aggreko and actually lease generators from them.

Obviously this issue doesn’t bode well for an Olympic Games already under fire for pollution concerns and overall budget issues. For perspective, London 2012’s electricity partner was determined 20 months before that edition of the Games began, but here we are just 8 months out from Rio and the bidding process is still underway.

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i guess i don’t understand how electricity is created and delivered. How can a company provide this? do they build a nuclear facility? put up wind turbines? or is it a matter of upgrading and overseeing the existing supply of electricity?

M Palota

Events like the Olympics have requirements for secure power supply external from the existing grid. This becomes a critical issue in places like Rio where the grid in place is not terribly reliable and would struggle to take on the extra load associated with the event. Each venue – and the athlete’s village & broadcasting centre – will have a set of generators, likely diesel or natural gas fired, that will be in place to provide auxiliary power in the event of an outage in the domestic grid and/or if the demand in that venue exceeds a certain draw. Ensuring a secure and consistent power supply is one of those things in events like the Olympics that the public is… Read more »

Gina Rhinestone

Aggrekko was no match for Beyonce’s thunder thighs at the Superdome . People in huts around the globe watching a blank tv screen .

“Wh’ahappened? Awwh nothing just Great White Man electricity kapoot . But isn’t Aggrekko there? Yes but it’s N’Orleans . No one can round up cats .”

Kevin Charles

It was the local utility company’s electrical switch that failed (see numerous news stories) not Aggreko.


Seems obvious Aggreko is worried about getting paid for the job and the fact that the clock was ticking on getting everything set up properly and according to spec. the longer they wait the more costly it will be and they are probably already past the point of it being an easy set up. Swim finals by candle light…how romantic

Joel Lin

They’ve spent two years wondering if the government or the Olympic committee would be paying? Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows neither CAN pay. Oil prices breaking new 5+ year lows only cements this with certainty.

How did the IOC let it go this long and this far out of control. At this point Rio is the Dumpster Fire Games. The earlier suggested comments to go all in to make the logistics work for a second London games makes perfect sense. Just take the games to a place where the infrastructure is reliably in place. Rio has already failed. It is time to stop it out.


Sorry Joel but it may already be too late for an easy throw-back to London.

Whilst some facilities are certainly “ready to go and others can be easily scaled-up with temporary seating”:
– the re-development of the Olympic Stadium is well underway.
– whilst the Aquatic Centre could most certainly be used, the facility itself has been reconstructed with the capacity reduced massively down from 17500 to 3500 max.
– the basketball arena & the water polo venues were both temporary facilities and have been dismantled.

It’s probably 12 months too late to pull an easy or even workable switch to London or to any other previous host.

Gina Rhinestone

Plus the accom was all sold to some favourite Emir at basement prices . Try & house 20 ,000 ppl in London today . It might be cheaper to send them off with the First British Spaceman & pay Elton John to write a song for them.

As for great London management , the security firm was sacked just weeks before because the locals thought the personnel were indistinguishable from the terrorists. The army was brought in & housed in tents & forced to look mean. Then Dave sacked 20,000 of them.

No Olympics comes up smelling roses .

About Loretta Race

Loretta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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