García Ginerés neighbors again block street to protest blackouts

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Two months after residents in a García Ginerés neighborhood thought they had seen an end to persistent blackouts, in came Tuesday’s violent storm.

And with one lightning strike, out went Bertha, which is what one resident called the giant new transformer installed by CFE. Also out were lights on five streets — for more than 24 hours.

CFE trucks arrive Wednesday to replace a new transformer that lasted just two months. Residents in García Ginerés blocked the street after feeling ignored by the power utility. Photo: Mark Callum

And back came the street barricade to bring attention to the problem. It was led by a single mother whose Six convenience store loses inventory whenever the power goes out.

Most of Mérida kept their lights on during the storm, but not this zone, which is north of the historic center.

April’s blackout lasted three days. This time, however, the CFE scrambled to find a transformer to replace Bertha, on calles 29 and 22, in under two. It was brought in by police escort.

Power was lost at 4 p.m. Tuesday, and by 2:43 p.m. Wednesday, the saga was reported in both Por Esto! and Diario de Yucatán. The store owner, Sara Gómez, told reporters that CFE was giving them the runaround.

“Every time we call to follow up on our reports, they tell us that they have already been resolved. They tell everyone the same thing, but we still have no power,” said Gómez.

The same day, at least five CFE vehicles arrived to cut back some trees and install new line equipment. Before 11 that night, power was restored.

“It seems like every storm takes out the service in this quiet corner of Mérida,” said Mark Callum, who lives near the Six and has photos of broken power lines tied together in knots. “Over the last decade, there have been nonstop problems. Exploding junction boxes, lines sending just 1.5v to homeowners, the equivalent of a AA battery. TVs and other electrical equipment burned out and destroyed … meters exploding and residents having to pay thousands in US dollars over the years replacing cables,” are the price homeowners are paying for constant power fluctuations and interruptions, he added.

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