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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Blackout caused by system overload, says CFE

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Police direct cars during Tuesday’s power failure in Mérida. Photo: Facebook

It wasn’t an explosion, and it wasn’t a Martian attack. The CFE’s power grid was simply unable to keep up with demand when a blackout caused chaos on Tuesday.

The power failure came as the day’s high temperatures approached, leaving residents to complain that they couldn’t use fans, much less air conditioning, to keep cool. Restaurant owners fretted about losing perishable inventory.

Officials at the power company dismissed the social-media rumors and memes that offered alternative explanations.

Power went out at 11 a.m. for 1.7 million people from Tabasco to Quintana Roo, but by 6:30 p.m., officials announced on Twitter that electricity was restored for 99 percent of their customers. 

The outage shut down gas stations, traffic lights and hospitals across the Peninsula, and also disrupted phone service. Police directed traffic where needed.

The blackout did generate some “fake news,” however. A video of exploding transmission lines circulated on Facebook, but CFE shut down that rumor quickly. Then jokes emerged citing a UFO involvement. That was also discredited by the power company.

Radio stations were also unable to broadcast news of CFE’s progress during the day.

The CFE issued a statement as well saying that in coordination with the National Energy Control Center (Cenace), the utility will work to carry out strategies to standardize electric service to the Peninsula.

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