CFE Denies Electricity Issues as Mexican System Enters State of Alert

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On Tuesday, June 20, Mexico’s National Center for Energy Control (Cenace) declared an “operational state of alert” on the nation’s electrical system as a result of the increased consumer demands for electricity in the wake of high temperatures sweeping across the country.

Electricity demand reached a historic high of more than 52,000 megawatts of energy on Tuesday, causing a rise in electricity service cuts in cities throughout Mexico, such as in Huetamo, Michoacán, which has suffered from three days without electricity in the midst of blistering 45 C temperatures.

According to the Cenace alert, Mexico’s electrical system is currently operating with a reserve margin below 6 percent, contradicting the state-owned Federal Electricity Commission’s (CFE) statement over the weekend that the high temperatures have had no effect on the nation’s electricity supply and that it possesses sufficient infrastructure to guarantee energy service to the entire nation over the summer.

Despite the CFE’s reassurance to the public, energy sector experts warn that there will likely be an increase and extension of programmed electricity cuts in order to prevent the collapse of Mexico’s entire electricity system.

“It will begin to ask the large industrial consumers of electricity to turn off their production plants to reduce electricity demand,” a specialist told daily Mexican newspaper Reforma.

Likewise, experts have pointed to the CFE’s lack of infrastructure in its distribution system – specifically in its transmission networks, substations and transformers – has only exacerbated the issue as consumer demand outpaces the electricity company’s installed capacity.

With temperatures expected to continue climbing above the 45 C threshold in 10 Mexican states in the week ahead, with Nuevo León reporting seven deaths from heat exhaustion on Tuesday alone, Mexican politicians like National Regeneration Movement (Morena) Governor of Tabasco Carlos Manuel Merino have urged the CFE to revise its energy capabilities.

“We have told them that it is urgent to review the current infrastructure because power cuts are increasing this season,” said Merino.

Even in the face of the Cenace’s state of alert and pleas from his own party’s politicians, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) dismissed Mexico’s diminishing electricity supply as “no problem” during his daily morning press conference on Wednesday, July 21.

“There is no issue and the Cenace is responding with alarmism,” said López Obrador at the time, characterizing the power cuts and blackouts as “routine.”

When further prompted by members of the press, AMLO went on to promise a guarantee of electricity supply nationwide before further lambasting the “uninformed” and “manipulable” Mexican middle class for believing the Cenace’s “lies.”

Meanwhile, the recently released 2023 World Competitiveness Ranking revealed Mexico’s drop in ranking to 56th place out of 64 nations, with Mexico’s lack of logistical infrastructure and refusal to adopt clean energy – areas that could aid in the nation’s ongoing electricity capacity problems – as reasons for its ranking toward the bottom of the global pack

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