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Mass blackout leaves 10.3 million without power

Riviera Maya, Q.R. — The massive blackout that occurred Monday affecting several states, left 10.3 million without electricity. The Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) says an imbalance in the national interconnected system caused the mass blackout that reached at least a dozen states.

CFE reported that a 30-hectare grass fire in the municipality of Padilla, Tamaulipas caused the shutdown of two 400 kV transmission lines located between Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas and Linares, Nuevo León (where the Lajas and Güémez substations are located), which originated the imbalance in the National Electric System (SEN) that left 10.3 million users in the country without electricity.

A 30-hectare grass fire Tuesday resulted in another mass black out

In a detailed account, CFE reported the output of operation of two transmission lines between the Lajas and Güémez substations at 400,000 volts due to oscillations in the National Interconnected System, caused the frequency of the system to increase by 61.8 hertz and 16 power plants, 1,714 MW of photovoltaic and 877 MW of wind, for an amount of 9,262 megawatts.

When the balance-load-generation was affected, the protection system was activated and avoided a generalized blackout, where only the low frequency was decreased to 58.9 hertz, with an impact of 8,696 megawatts of load throughout the country or 26 percent of the energy that was consumed at that time, explained Carlos Meléndez, general director of the National Center for Energy Control in a press conference.

This imbalance in the National Interconnected System, which began at 2:36 p.m. (Mexico City time), affected 10.3 million users, 19 percent of total users of the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), mainly in the central, west and northeast of the country.

Known affected states included the State of Mexico, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Nuevo León, Yucatán, San Luis Potosí, Nayarit, Guanajuato, Coahuila, Morelos, Tabasco, Hidalgo, Querétaro and Quintana Roo.

Officials hold a press conference about the mass blackout that left 10.3 million without power

Noé Peña Silva, CFE’s Corporate Director of Transmission, explained that during the departure of two lines between Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas and Linares, Nuevo León, the departure of a line between Mazatlán, Sinaloa and Tepic, Nayarit, was also presented and another line between Durango and Fresnillo, Zacatecas, due to instability.

Guillermo Nevárez Elizondo, CFE’s Corporate Director of Distribution clarified that at no time was the electricity supply to clinics, hospitals or drinking water systems affected. CFE says they will continue to work to identify the cause of the low frequency and minimize the risk of a repeat.

Due to this incident, the Electrical System Protection systems were activated which interrupted the electricity supply in the Nuevo León area. At the time of the failure, the agency says their protection systems operated with precision to safeguard the network and prevent more users from being left without electricity.