Texas freeze leaves hundreds of thousands in northern Mexico with out energy | Telecommunications Information
Operations were hampered when the Texas winter storm froze natural gas pipelines, according to Mexico’s state-owned energy company.
The freezing weather in the US state of Texas left nearly five million people in northern Mexico without electricity early Monday as a lack of natural gas disrupted electricity generation.
Mexico’s state-owned utility, the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), announced Monday that operations were halted when the Texas winter storm freezes natural gas pipelines.
Mexico uses gas to generate about 60 percent of its electricity, compared to about 40 percent in the US, and the country built pipelines to take cheap natural gas from its northern neighbor.
A freeze across Texas over the weekend took a toll on the energy industry in the largest US crude oil producing state, closing oil refineries and enforcing restrictions on natural gas pipeline operators.
The Mexican utility announced that by noon Monday it had restored electricity to around 65 percent of the 4.8 million customers affected by the blackout, mostly in the northern border states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas.
A smaller number of users were also affected in Durango and Zacatecas.
Previously, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador rejected proposals that the outage could be linked to a “boycott” by private power producers angry with his plan to strengthen the CFE [File: Marco Ugarte/AP Photo]Miguel Reyes Hernandez, director of fuel purchases at CFE, said the situation in Texas has curbed the gas imports that Mexico uses to operate many of its power plants.
“Electricity demand in the US rose a little more than 20 percent in just four days,” said Reyes Hernandez.
“The increase was precisely due to the drop in temperature, and obviously the use of heating in the USA meant, on the one hand, an increase in the demand for natural gas and, precisely because of the low temperatures, there was a decrease in renewable energies. ”
He said US wind turbines have “frozen their blades … and frozen in many pipelines and even at wells”.
Midland, the heart of the West Texas slate region, experienced record snowfall and temperatures hit a 32-year low, offices and shops closed. Temperatures are expected to rise above freezing on Tuesday.
On the previous Monday, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador rejected proposals that the outage could be linked to a “boycott” of private power producers angry about his plan to strengthen the CFE.
Mexican utility said US wind turbines “frozen” their blades at sub-zero temperatures [David J Phillip/AP Photo]Lopez Obrador, an energy nationalist, wants to strengthen state control over industry, arguing that previous governments have distorted the electricity market in favor of the private sector.
“The Federal Electricity Commission engineers are already working on it,” he said during his morning press conference.
“It’s because of the bad weather,” he said, “but it won’t be long.”