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Friday, May 20, 2022

Power back after lights go out from Gulf to Cozumel

2nd large-scale blackout in under a month

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A police officer directs traffic in Merida’s Centro after power knocks out traffic lights. Photo: SIPSE

A power failure hitting all three of the Yucatan Peninsula’s states was the most widespread outage in recent memory.

Lights went out in Yucatan’s capital city, Merida, and Quintana Roo’s tourist hot spots, Cancun and Tulum. More than a million customers were affected.

CFE, the federal electric utility, blamed a fire that spread too close to transmission towers. A sugarcane plantation fire grew out of control in Ticul, affecting lines in Campeche, according to reports.

This is the second large-scale blackout in under a month. A massive outage in March, knocking out power briefly for over 350,000, was also blamed on a fire. April is part of Yucatan’s dry season, when brush fires are more common. This is also Yucatan’s hottest period, and the problem was accentuated by intense heat reaching 40C / 104F.

In Merida, traffic lights went dark around 3:30 p.m. and police directed traffic in key areas. Lights went back on gradually, starting in the hotel zone. For most, power was restored in an hour or two.

The outage made international news, putting the Peninsula’s infrastructure in question as states attempt to grow its business and leisure travel sectors. Media including The Associated Press, Reuters, Reforma, and Televisa reported on the power failure.

Source: Local media reports, agencies

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