CFE’s Thermoelectric Power Plant in Merida CollapsesBy María José Goytia | Wed, 03/09/2022 - 11:04
The cooling tower of Merida II Thermoelectric Power Plant’s Unit 2, owned by state utility CFE, collapsed in early morning of March 2. So far, the cause of the disaster is unknown and no further information has been shared by CFE. Nevertheless, workers claim the collapse was caused by a lack of maintenance.
Before the incident, the plant was generating 39MW. At the moment, there is no date set for the plant’s return to operation. CFE pointed out that Merida II’s 2021 maintenance schedule was being followed, so it ruled out lack of maintenance as an explanation. "The factors that caused the event in Unit 2 are being analyzed by specialized personnel. In 2021, maintenance was applied according to an earlier established diagnosis and program to provide reliability," said CFE in a statement.
Videos and images of the event circulated on social media, along with complaints from workers at the plant. According to the workers, the collapse was caused by a lack of maintenance on the plant, an issue they claim they reported continuously to avoid mishaps without response from the state utility. These social media statements contradict CFE’s official position.
Despite the Merida II plant being out of service, CFE assured that electricity supply in the Yucatan peninsula is guaranteed. "Considering the energy matrix of the Yucatan Peninsula’s power plants, there is currently enough on-site generation capacity, as well as the possibility to inject electricity through the Escárcega transmission link, using the national electricity network. Therefore, our supply is sufficient to satisfy the region's electricity demand," stated CFE.
The information provided by CFE about the incident is scarce and does not specify whether anyone was injured, nor if there will be any medium-term effects on the electricity supply for the Yucatan peninsula.
Amid the difficulties caused by the collapse, CFE Director Manuel Bartlett reaffirmed to legislators from MORENA, PT and PVEM that the electricity sector does not requires more private sector investment. The necessary added infrastructure is “already being developed by the government,” he said.