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Power outage on Yucatán peninsula is third in two months

Half a million people affected for up to 18 minutes

The Yucatán peninsula suffered its third power outage in less than two months yesterday, although the lights didn’t stay off for long.

The Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) said that around 500,000 customers in Yucatán and Quintana Roo lost power for 11 minutes in the former state and 18 minutes in the latter.

Two 400-kilovolt transmission lines that went offline were to blame for the blackout, the CFE said.

The state-owned company added that it will investigate the causes of the power line failures in conjunction with the National Energy Control Center (Cenace).

Electricity customers in Yucatán and Quintana Roo were previously affected by an outage on March 8 and another on April 5, which also left parts of Campeche without power.

Both blackouts were blamed on fires beneath transmission lines but energy expert Edgar Ocampo Telléz said that a lack of gas to generate power was the real reason.

However, CFE chief Manuel Bartlett denied that was the case on April 11, stating that there is sufficient natural gas to generate the power needed for the peninsula.

He also ruled out future interruptions to electricity supply but it took just 11 days for him to be proved wrong.

In contrast, Ocampo warned that the Yucatán peninsula would suffer periodic blackouts, especially as the weather gets warmer and the demand for electricity increases.

The CFE also announced on April 11 that it is investing 2 billion pesos (US $105.8 million) to strengthen the electricity-carrying capacity of transmission lines between Ticul, Yucatán, and Escárcega, Campeche.

Noé Peña, director general of the CFE transmission division, said the project will be undertaken in two stages. The first, which is already under way, will be completed in May next year and the second will finish a year later.

The aim is to “double the capacity . . . of that route. We’re working on a double [transmission] line . . .” he said.

Source: Notimex (sp) 

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