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Monday, January 24, 2022

García Ginerés residents fed-up with constant power outages

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
A resident in García Ginerés expresses his contempt for the electric utility after multiple power interruptions. Photo: La Jornada Maya

After years of unreliable service from Mexico’s power utility, power outages in García Ginerés continue to frustrate residents. 

A protest staged last Friday blocked traffic along Calle 14 in the neighborhood, just north of the historic center. Organizers said that they have made several reports to the CFE but that their complaints continue to be ignored. 

Some residents claim that on particularly bad days they lose power up to 30 times a day. Power surges have also resulted in damage to several home appliances such as refrigerators, air conditioners and televisions.

Protestors carried signs that read “We are only asking for a good service” and “CFE answer our complaints.” Some in the neighborhood took things a bit further and hung signs outside of their homes depicting the CFE as thieves or money-hungry rats. 

The CFE says that the power fluctuations are the result of scheduled maintenance work being done in the area, but residents are not buying it. 

“These problems are nothing new. We have been living like this for years and the only thing the CFE has for us are excuses,” said José Góngora Pacheco. “The last time I issued a complaint they said it must be a problem with the electrical installation at my house, despite the fact that all my neighbors were also without power.”

Earlier: CFE’s ‘scheduled’ power cuts hit Yucatán without warning

CFE maintenance crews have been spotted several times over the past few weeks in Gracía Ginerés, but homeowners report that not only have they not fixed the problem, but they have actually made it worse. 

“Many issues take five or six reports and visits over many months to resolve. When engineers finally arrive and even when confronted with photographic evidence of the problem, they do not go to the transformer to adjust the voltage,” said García Ginerés resident Mark Callum. “There are also not enough transformers in our area and in the past when one failed they don’t replace it or they put in a smaller one, thereby overloading an already creaking system. We are now seeing the results of years of cutting corners.”

Despite repeated visits from CFE, residents in García Ginerés say power outages just keep getting worse. Photo: Courtesy

Col. García Ginerés was found in 1904, among the oldest of the more suburban-type neighborhoods that formed in the 20th century.

“Garcia Gineres is the first and forgotten colonia,” said Callum. “Apparently we have some of the oldest transformers in the city.”

Losing power so often is not just an inconvenience.

“A friend of mine is currently helping fix a no-break system for an elderly local on an oxygen machine,” Callum said.

But power outages are by no means limited to García Ginerés.

A Yucatán Magazine poll, posted Monday on the Facebook group Mexico Amigos, asked how many times they have lost power in the last three months. The results are not scientific but indicate a widespread problem.

Graphic: Yucatán Magazine

Of 118 Facebook users who responded, 57 had lost power three times or more over the past three months. Another 35 said they had lost power one or two times, and 26 said that they had never lost power during the same period.

With information from La Jornada Maya

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