“By turning off the lights, the only thing we achieve is that it is difficult to see.”
President López Obrador was emphatic on December 29, 2019 in his morning after the great blackout on April Fools’ Day in Tamaulipas and Nuevo León. “When asked if it will continue to happen, I can state that it will not; we have a good electricity service.”
It was not the first time he had made this promise. nor would it be the last. On June 22, 2019, three years ago yesterday, he declared in Mérida that the blackouts in Yucatán were the product of the fact that the southeast had been abandoned, leaving it without natural gas, and that in 30 years no electricity generation plants had been built. ; In fact, many have been built in the country, but by private companies. On July 26, also 2019, he stated: “There will be no problems of lack of electricity. There is enough supply and there will be no blackouts. I say all this so that it is not manipulated.”
On February 20, 2021, he emphasized: “The Federal Electricity Commission is going to guarantee that there will be no blackouts, that there will always be electricity, and I will reaffirm the commitment that the price of electricity will not increase.” Manuel Bartlett, general director of the CFE, told a reporter on July 1, 2021: “There are no blackouts, don’t believe them. Don’t get carried away by the lies. We live in a constant attack on the CFE because it is the best company from Mexico.
Promises have been useless, however: this has been a six-year period of blackouts. Yesterday one left 1.3 million users without electricity in the states of Campeche, Quintana Roo and Yucatán. The CFE blamed an unidentified worker who allegedly had an accident while servicing high-voltage lines. On at least two occasions, on the other hand, the Commission has blamed grassland burning. In December 2019, he presented a Tamaulipas Civil Protection document that allegedly showed the existence of a fire in the Tamaulipas blackout, but it turned out to be false. “There will be people responsible for that false document,” Bartlett declared, but so far I don’t know who forged it, nor why it was presented as justification.
Specialists have long been predicting blackouts due to the deterioration of the transmission network, over which the CFE has a monopoly. Just last June 20, the consultant Pablo Zárate warned in El Economista: “More blackouts are coming.” He explained: “From 2020 to 2021, the number of declarations of operational states of emergency grew by 70.6 percent, from 51 to 87. The number of declarations of operational states of alert grew from 1,808 to 2,097.”
The problems are not the product of private clean power plants, or grass burning, or the mistakes of a maintenance worker. The National Energy Control Center itself, Cenace, underlines Zárate, “recognizes that 83.9 percent of emergencies occur due to failures in the infrastructure of the national transmission network” and “72.2 percent of the alerts are due to lack of infrastructure of the same network.
The incredible thing is that the CFE, instead of using the resources it has to modernize and expand the transmission network, in which no one else can invest, dedicates all its efforts to closing efficient private plants and preventing more private investment in generation . If we already had a modernized transmission network that reached the entire country, perhaps this attempt to recover an inefficient monopoly could be understood. But at a time when network failures produce blackout after blackout, the effort to cancel investments and leave the network abandoned is nonsense.
It is false that the government is stopping the violence. Neither hugs for criminals nor social support for young people stop her. Impunity promotes violence.