The Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) cut off electricity on the weekend for nonpayment by one of its biggest deadbeat customers — the water utility operated by the municipality of Cuernavaca.
Citing a debt of 111 million pesos (US $4.9 million), the CFE turned off the power to 15 wells operated by the Cuernavaca Potable Water System (SAPAC), leaving 100 out of 350 neighborhoods in the Morelos capital without water.
The commission cut off electricity to nine wells on Thursday and six more on Saturday, SAPAC officials said, adding that the electricity provider had pursued SAPAC for liquidation of the outstanding amount owed but that neither the water agency nor the municipal government could produce the money needed.
SAPAC said the agency has been making current payments and has arranged meetings with the agency’s directors to discuss paying the debt.
Mayor Antonio Villalobos Adán and SAPAC directors were scheduled to meet with CFE officials in Mexico City Monday about reestablishing service to the wells. In the meantime, SAPAC plans to send out water trucks to make sure the affected neighborhoods have water, citing the Covid-19 health emergency, until an agreement can be reached.
However, some neighbors were less than understanding. About 40 residents of Antonio Barona blocked the Mexico-Acapulco highway on Friday for an hour and a half, demanding drinking water. On Sunday, residents of Flores Magón staged a similar demonstration, intermittently blocking the sides of parts of the Cuernavaca Expressway for two hours, prompting the appearance of SAPAC functionaries, who assured the demonstrators that water service had already been restored to their neighborhood.
Power has been cut to the water system at least twice since March 2018 because of the outstanding debt.
Sources: La Jornada (sp)