Hurricane Agatha Leaves Hundreds Without Electricity in Oaxaca
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Hurricane Agatha Leaves Hundreds Without Electricity in Oaxaca

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By Kristelle Gutiérrez | Junior Journalist & Industry Analyst - Wed, 06/08/2022 - 09:43

In recent years, extreme weather conditions have led to power outages across the globe. As the  material damage increased, problems for electrical utilities grew as well. In Mexico, Hurricane Agatha first hit the coastal area of Oaxaca and has continued to gain strength in the last days of May 2022, with rainstorms reaching several states in the south and southeastern regions, including Chiapas, Veracruz, Tabasco, Quintana Roo and Yucatan. Around 76,513 people were left without electricity as a result.

Although the storm weakens, it has already led to significant losses. As of June 7, 2022, it has caused at least 9 deaths, with a further 4 people missing, according to Reuters. In Oaxaca, Governor Alejandro Murat declared a state of emergency in 26 municipalities.

The storm has also caused the electricity system to collapse in the two main areas in the state: the Costa and Sierra Sur regions, where CFE worked to reestablish the service for 72,158 electricity users. The hurricane has similarly impacted some areas in the neighboring southeastern state of Veracruz, where 4,355 users lost power. At the time of writing, 76,513 users were cut off.

On 7 June 2022, CFE reported that it had already restored the power in 75 percent of the homes affected by electricity outages in Oaxaca and already returned the power for the users in Veracruz. On 31 May, a press release by the state utility stated that “CFE workers work strategically and continuously… and are currently working to get the electricity supply back to normal, in spite of blockages due to the overflow of rivers, mudslides and downed trees that prevent access.”

In the areas where CFE is still unable to restore the electricity supply, several community members have called out the state utility, as they took to social media to report to the severity of the structural damages that the storm has left. In San Francisco Loxicha, community members explained that the power has been out for over two days, so they are unable to communicate with the local authorities. The few families that still reside in the area have lost most of their possessions.

Members of the Santa María Tonameca community, located in the Costa region, reporting to similar concerns about being isolated since Agatha first hit the area on 30 May 2022. A third case involves the San Mateo Piñas municipality, also in the Costa region.

These problematically sustained power outages can go unattended for a long time and are especially common in regions where access to basic services is precarious at best and nonexistent at worst. Experts warn that extreme weather appears to exacerbate these conditions. According to The Guardian, power grid maintenance expenses in many areas in the world tend to increase as state utilities are required to upgrade decades-old transmissions lines and equipment, which means that customers that are affected by unstable electricity supply end up paying the most for the service

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