But as for the blackouts in Latin America (except Venezuela) then it is likely coincidence.
As for the article then alas previously serious edition The NYT is becoming The Daily Mail style fake news producer.
I reckon that the article is a result of internal American political tug-of-war intended to spoil informational background before G20 where pres.Trump will meet with pres.Putin. The authors of the article suggest that pres.Trump is not real decision maker, that he is not well informed about some very serious issues. And thus negotiations with him are pointless for this reason.
Likely I'm the most informed person on this site in respect to the structure of Russian power grids. I worked in Nizhnevartivsk power grids (West Siberia) during 11 years that included 4 substations 500kV, about 20 substations 220kV and about 150 substations 110kV. As a programmer I contributed to creating of local system of control and monitoring.
Later working in different enginering companies I worked closely with Russian software firm that developed (and still is developing) software for upper level control systems in power energetics.
In my opinion external intervention in control operations in power grid system in Russia is in fact impossible.
For specialists the allegations made in the article are laughable fantasies written by people absolutely ignorant in power energetics (at least Russian one).
Famous Mark Twain's "How I edited an agricultural paper" springs in mind.