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CFE Works to Reestablish Electricity in Wake of Hurricane

By Cas Biekmann | Mon, 08/23/2021 - 18:07

Hurricane Grace has left a trail of destruction in its wake. In addition to several reported deaths, the storm has left 835,000 Mexican citizens across five states without electricity, after damaging transmission and distribution infrastructure. State utility CFE continues to work on repairing the network.

Grace wreaked havoc after hitting Mexico this weekend with maximum sustained winds of over 200km/h, creating mud slides and bringing strong torrential rains. Grace was a Category 3 hurricane according to the standards of the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale. The state of Veracruz was hit the most, although people in Hidalgo, Puebla, San Luis Potosi and Tlaxcala were also affected.

For CFE, the storm posed a major operational challenge to repair damage and get the distribution of electricity back up to scratch. Even though the storm passed on Saturday, the utility is still working on the issue. Since Monday morning, CFE has reestablished full service in San Luis Potosi and Tlaxcala. In Veracruz and Puebla, 60 percent of users now have access to electricity. Within the state of Hidalgo, 79 percent of the grid has been returned to its normal state. “CFE staff will continue the work until the affected users are restored to normalcy. Following instructions from its Director General, Manuel Bartlett Díaz, CFE has allocated a variety of resources to attend to the contingency: 1,172 electrical workers, 195 cranes, 364 vehicles, 2 helicopters and 35 emergency plants,” said CFE in a statement.

In preparation for the initial storm CFE readied its equipment as well as 69 mobile power plants, mostly in the Yucatan peninsula. When asked about the potential impact of the storm, CFE responded it did not expect it to have a major impact on power or crude oil production, meaning that the state utility did not expect the storm to damage the entire country’s electricity network and lead to nation-wide blackouts. But after Grace made landfall as a storm, it gained enough strength to become a Category 3 hurricane, as the country braced once again for impact.

Last year, a somewhat similar Category 3 hurricane named Delta drenched Cancun. Even though the Yucatan peninsula was spared from the worst impact with no deaths or serious injuries attributed to the hurricane, the damage done to infrastructure and industry was still estimated to be severe.

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Cas Biekmann Cas Biekmann Journalist and Industry Analyst