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For 5 months CFE anticipated a blackout

In its 2019 Annual Report, approved five months ago by its Board of Directors, the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) already recognized that it would not be able to “prevent service interruptions due to Technical failures”, Like the one that happened this Monday.

When submitting the report, Manuel Bartlett, CFE director, stated that due to the 30% increase in energy costs and other fuels to generate electricity, it was necessary to cut the budget for plant maintenance, materials and general services for 18 thousand 73 million pesos.

Yesterday, at a press conference, the electricity company presented a letter of Tamaulipas Civil Protection, arguing that Monday’s blackout, which affected 10.3 million users in the country, was due to a fire in grasslands on Federal Highway 85 Victoria-Monterrey.

In this regard, the president Andrés Manuel López Obrador assured in a press conference that this type of event “is not going to be repeated.”

Also read: Tamaulipas Civil Protection denies CFE’s official letter on fire prior to blackout

The Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) recognized in its 2019 Annual Report, approved five months ago, that “it may not be able to prevent service interruptions due to technical failures.”

The document was approved by the members of the Board of Directors of the State productive company, including its president Rocío Nahle, Secretary of Energy.

The CFE stands out in the report also sent to the Mexican stock exchange (BMW) that “it may face conditions that cause a significant interruption of service, which could adversely affect operating results and financial situation.”

This Monday there was a 104-minute blackout that affected 10.3 million Mexicans, especially in the center, west and northwest of the country, which was attributed to oscillations in two transmission lines that ended up affecting the network and taking out of operation to at least 16 conventional power plants and more than photovoltaic and wind generation.

When presenting the 2019 Annual Report, Manuel Bartlett Díaz, CFE director, stated that due to the 30% increase in the costs of energy and other fuels for the generation of electricity, it was necessary to cut the budget for plant maintenance, materials and general services in 18 thousand 73 million pesos, 56% less than what was projected in its business plan.

Also read: A fire in a grassland caused the start of the blackout in the country, explains CFE

The result materialized in 2019 with failures of some plants and, consequently, in which the company did not meet some objectives.

For example in energy availability offered to the market, a goal of 80.74% was set and 76.27% was reached, due to unavailability, of which 10% corresponded to lack of maintenance, 7% to plant failures, 3% due to decrease and 3% due to external causes.

In net generation of electric power, a goal of 168,649 gigawatt-hours (GWh) was established, but the result was 150 thousand 73 GWh, due to causes such as incidents and failures, decrease in generation plants, lack of dispatch by part of the National Energy Control Center (Prices) and extended maintenance.

CFE emphasizes that the final unavailability in 2019 was due to failures of the generating units 2.27% higher than scheduled. “The main factor that caused the deviations in this indicator was the lag in the execution of maintenance in recent years, which caused the equipment to not be in optimal operating conditions, representing unscheduled outputs of the generating units” .

For this year, of 121 investment projects that were left out due to budgetary limitations, 51 corresponded to the maintenance of all types of generating plants operated by CFE, according to the Programmatic Budget of the State productive company.

Also read: The blackout like yesterday will not be repeated: AMLO

Cenace, also with lags


In the case of the National Center for Energy Control (Cenace), from its birth as part of the energy reform, to take charge of the operation of the national electrical system (ITS), began operations with serious limitations.

In July of this year, EL UNIVERSAL announced that Cenace warned that its key communication systems could fall and cause failures in both generating plants and substations, in the distribution control center, and also lack of coordination between the participants of the market, including CFE and private generators (wind, photovoltaic, independent and self-supplying).

In other words, with the current communication system for transmitting key information and data, the operation of the electrical system can be affected throughout the country.

In an internal document, the center acknowledged that the current communications infrastructure that supports voice and data “no longer allows the service to be provided with the capacity and quality compromised, as it presents faults (they were not detailed for security reasons) of increasing intensity. by obsolescence of the equipment and lack of spare parts that are no longer on the market, due to the rapid evolution of technology ”.

Also read: AMLO was given “other data” of the blackout

Said failures, he adds in the cost-efficiency analysis of the program ‘Modernization and Expansion of Communications Network Equipment of the National Energy Control Center 2021 ‘, which was delivered to the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit, “have a direct effect on the operation of the center’s key processes, since it can affect data communications between the different control managements that make up the body or with the participants of the Wholesale Electricity Market (MEM)”.

Cenace also acknowledged on December 1 that since it receives 5 thousand 67 monthly records from each market participant regarding hourly measurements (24 hours a day, for each month) for the purpose of processing demand and consumption forecasts, it faces limitations because it does not have specialized software to process large amounts of information.

This situation causes loss of information, redoing of work, long working hours (Monday to Sunday) of up to 12 hours a day, unreliable Excel processes and delays in the delivery of final products in a timely manner.

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