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Lights Out In La Paz

Date Published:

La Paz

La Paz’ local government is scrambling for a solution to a looming energy crisis where they are behind in their payments to Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) and the entire city faces having the lights turned off.

Due to claimed arrears of 35 million pesos (US $2.15 million) owed to the CFE, quarter of a million people in the city face the prospect of darkened sidewalks in the state capital.

Municipal Public Services director Pedro Enrique Alba Huerta acknowledged it would not be the first time the lights went out in La Paz due to non-payment of the power bill. But he does not believe CFE is handling the situation well.

“This is not the time to cut public lighting,” Huerta said. “When they cut public lighting, the problems generated affect even the traffic lights. It is not appropriate for the commission to cut electricity now, in my opinion.”

“The issue is that the debt is being paid off yet they still keep cutting off the power,” said Marco Antonio Núñez, general secretary of the municipality, referring to monthly payments that range from 2 to 5 million pesos.

The municipality began using diesel-powered generators after the CFE turned off the power to municipal headquarters on July 9 after a missed payment of 4 million pesos.

According to reports, Mayor Francisco Monroy Sánchez has been in Mexico City to renegotiate debt terms with the federal government and settle other outstanding liabilities.

Meanwhile, La Paz is set to become wholly dependent on solar power. The municipality is scheduled to go 100% solar with the help of a 30-MW solar PV project currently being built by the international energy company Grupotec.

Another solar plant that went online early last year already produces more than 60% of La Paz’ electrical needs.

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