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CFE pulls out of new submarine cable contract for Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres, Q.R. — After the CFE submitted an environmental impact assessment for the replacement of the 30-year-old underwater electricity cable that feeds the island of Isla Mujeres, the company exercised its right to withdraw from the project, but without explanation.

In November, la Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) submitted an environmental impact assessment for the project, which would have seen the replacement of the submarine cable system that supplies the island with electricity.

The project, which was to be an investment of 235 million peso, has since been put on hold by the federally run electric company after they submitted a written withdraw, removing themselves from the project.

The foregoing was based on Article 50 of the General Law of Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection Regulations, which indicates that any promoter who decides not to carry out work or activity subject to authorization of environmental impact, must notify the Secretariat in writing.

The notice of withdraw, which was dated January 13, only says that “The promoter made the decision to withdraw from the administrative procedure initiated to request authorization in the matter of environmental impact of the project called Replacement of the section of submarine cable from Punta Sam to Isla Mujeres 1c 16km.”

The electricity supply to the island has been supplied by the same underwater cable since 1989 that runs from the Bonampak substation located in the east portion of the city of Cancun. Being the only source of electricity, the increase in demand due to population increase on the island has exceeded the capacity of transmission of the submarine cable, which continuity affects islanders via blackouts.

According to CFE, the replacement of the submarine cable was intended to improve the power supply to Isla Mujeres since the current operating cable, installed in 1989, is in serious deterioration.

“Due to the deterioration of the current cable and its useful life being exceeded, as well as damage caused by vessels, anchors and vandalism in areas near the coast, its capacity to transmit electric power has decreased and even interruptions have occurred for failure in the cable,” they said in justification of the project.

The project was set to consist of the installation, operation and maintenance of a new submarine electric cable system of three sections of line, two underground, one 196-meter cable system in Punta Sam and one 451 meter cable system for Isla Mujeres as well as one underwater marine line that would have covered 5,822 meters. The new cables were also to include fiber optic service for the island.