For the second day in a row, the tourist hotspots of Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, Merida and Campeche have been affected by electrical blackouts. Reports from social media have described how this has severely affected drivers coming in and out of the cities, as traffic lights and crossings had stopped working. As of today, the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) has issued a statement on why the blackouts have happened:
“The Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) identified the suspension of the electrical service due to the output of Transmission lines at 400 kV (volts). This affected the supply of electrical energy to users in the states of Yucatan, Quintana Roo and Campeche”.
The high-tension electricity lines that the CFE mentioned went down after a worker was injured when performing a routine maintenance task on the electrical system. The worker has since been hospitalised but is reported to be in a stable condition.
Throughout the electrical blackout, huge traffic jams occurred within Playa Del Carmen and Cancun, as the lack of functional traffic lights made it difficult for drivers to travel safely. Local authorities attempted to inform people of the issues over social media, but this was not successful as cell service and internet connections were also down.
To aid drivers, the Municipal Traffic Directorate deployed police offers in heavily congested areas, to help direct the flow of traffic and oversee any accidents.
The power outage also caused economic losses for many local businesses across the region. The lack of electrical energy occurred in the morning when shops, restaurants, supermarkets and factories typically report a period of high productivity. This also inconvenienced tourists visiting Cancun and Playa Del Carmen for their summer vacations.
This issue is known as a peninsular blackout, as a key power line that supplies Yucatan, Quintana Roo and Campeche states went out of use. At this time, technical staff are working on making improvements to the structural integrity of the powerline, which is expected to help prevent similar blackouts in the future.
However, this change will occur gradually, meaning issues with the powerline may continue in the following months.
The outage affected around 1.3 million people from Tuesday, June 21st to Wednesday, June 22nd. Those travelling throughout the three states from 8.30 am onwards were most affected – around 62% of the total electricity users in the local area. This caused huge issues for citizens trying to get to school and work, as well as tourists travelling to various destinations.
As temperatures reached 30 degrees across the peninsula on Wednesday, many were left without air conditioning or power for electric fans. Electrical necessities, including automatic doors, were also affected.
This is not the first time the region has seen a blackout of this scale: on May 31st, a major power cut occurred throughout Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Chetumal after a rise in temperature caused a huge demand for electrical power. This significantly affected the hotel zones in Cancun and Playa del Carmen, causing concern for tourists on vacation.
Extreme weather in Cancun and its surrounding areas also have the potential to cause electrical blackouts. In February, electrical service was suspended temporarily after a hail storm occurred in Quintana Roo. This caused some damage to vital CFE electrical lines, leading to a temporary power cut.
The CFE has reported that full power was restored to the entire affected region by 11.45 a.m yesterday. Tourists who are concerned about additional blackouts should stay informed of the CFE’s official statements to see the progress being made.
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