More than 61,000 acts of vandalism triggered power outages in the first five months of the year, Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) data shows.
The figure equates to one vandalism-related blackout every 3 1/2 minutes between January and May.
The newspaper Milenio, which obtained the CFE data through a freedom of information request, reported that 73% of 61,017 acts of vandalism that caused damage to the national electrical grid occurred in just nine states: Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, Michoacán, Sonora, Hidalgo, Chihuahua, México state, Tabasco and Baja California.
The CFE recorded the highest number of such outages in Sinaloa, where there were 10,178 cases.
The figure for the five-month period is higher than the combined number recorded for the same period in 2017 and 2018, when there were 9,841 cases of vandalism that caused blackouts.
Vandalism was responsible for 10% of the 101,920 power outages in Sinaloa in the first five months of the year. Other blackouts were caused by failures at CFE power plants and storms that damaged lines, among other reasons.
High numbers of complaints about power outages were recorded in the Sinaloa municipalities of Culiacán, Mazatlán, Elota, San Ignacio, El Rosario and Escuinapa.
In response, CFE personnel completed extensive repairs and maintenance of electrical lines that transmit power to the south of the state.
The second highest number of vandalism-related outages occurred in Tamaulipas, where there were 7,273 cases between January and May.
There were more than 5,000 cases in both Sonora and Michoacán, while Hidalgo, Chihuahua, México state and Tabasco all recorded more than 3,000 blackouts caused by vandalism. There were just under 3,000 cases in Baja California.
In contrast, there was not a single case of a vandalism-related power outage in Campeche, Yucatán and Zacatecas. In Colima, Guanajuato and Quintana Roo, there were just 126, 128 and 181 acts of vandalism, respectively, on the states’ electrical lines.
The high incidence of vandalism occurred despite CFE efforts to crack down on criminal activity affecting its infrastructure.
The state-owned utility last year increased by more than 60% the area in which air and land patrols of CFE infrastructure are carried out. It also pays 46 million pesos (US $2.3 million) a month to the army and navy to provide security for the national electrical grid.
Source: Milenio (sp)