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“There was no damage to the system”: Bartlett and his team explained the details of the blackout that surprised Mexico

The director of the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), Manuel Bartlett, offers a conference (Photo: EFE / Mario Guzmán)
The director of the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), Manuel Bartlett, offers a conference (Photo: EFE / Mario Guzmán)

Derived from massive blackout that affected more than 10.3 million Mexicans in different states on the afternoon of this December 28, Manuel Bartlett Diaz, director of the Federal Electricity Commission; and Carlos Melendez, head of the National Center for Energy Control (Cenace), held a press conference in which they explained the details of this failure in the national electricity grid.

According to the information provided by the commission, “Today, December 28 at 2:28 p.m. (Central Mexico Time) there was an imbalance in the National Interconnected System between load and power generation, causing a loss of approximately 7,500 MW”, which caused the failure that produced the blackout that was reported on social networks by thousands of users.

In addition to this, the CFE also specified that the power supply problem could be resolved at 4:12 p.m. (Central Mexico Time); However, in view of the doubts of the users, a press conference was organized in which more information was given on this subject.

The service recovered before dark (Photo: Cuartoscuro)
The service recovered before dark (Photo: Cuartoscuro)

After introducing the participants in the teleconference, Carlos Meléndez took the floor and explained what happened to the public. For this, it specified that the electrical distribution system was in operation with minimal demand.

However, at 2:28 p.m., a problem occurred: the output of two transmission lines at 400,000 volts which caused problems in the national interconnected system. These oscillations make the system frequency increases to 61.8 Hertz and “power plants for an amount of 9,262 MW”. This affects the load / generation balance.

For this reason, the systems protection schemes began to work, so that this event does not spread and what happened is that the frequency was lowered to 58.9 Hertz, with an impact of 8,596 MW of cargo throughout the country.

Manuel Bartlett and his team explained the failure (Photo: EFE / José Méndez)
Manuel Bartlett and his team explained the failure (Photo: EFE / José Méndez)

The most affected regions were the Central Region, the Western Region and the Northeast Region, the latter being the one with the highest concentration of cargo.

Noé Peña Silva, Director of Transmission, listed the five line outputs: dos entre Victoria City and Linares, another two between Mazatlan and Tepic and one between Durango and Fresnillo. In this regard, it is suspected that the ruling originated between Tamaulipas and Nuevo León, but it will be until tomorrow when it is confirmed.

Guillermo Narvaez, Director of Distribution, highlighted that thanks to the protection systems only 19% of users were affected, as the damage could have been greater and for longer. He also said that hospitals, the Metro and the water system were the priorities to re-establish service.

The CFE assured that there were no losses in the infrastructure (Photo: Reuters / Daniel Becerril)
The CFE assured that there were no losses in the infrastructure (Photo: Reuters / Daniel Becerril)

Among other data offered in the question and answer section, were that 16 power plants were those that went out of operation; they also recognized that the last similar incident occurred on September 7, 2017 and that in general “There was no damage to the system”.

Regarding the protection system of the system, which is automated and has a response speed in thousandths of a second, it is pointed out that it is designed to protect most of the national electrical system.

In this way, only 10.5 million customers were affected instead of 46.5, which means that it was almost 20% of them. However, they specified that the key services suffered almost no electricity cut, as they have preference in the service.

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