Mexico, CENACE

Power grid main characteristics

Resulting from the 2013 Energy Reform, on August 28th, 2014 a Decree was passed to create the National Center for Energy Control (CENACE). Until then, CENACE had been part of Mexico’s largest and state-owned electricity utility (CFE).

CENACE is a decentralized public body in charge of the following strategic activities:

  • Operation and Control: Controls the operations of all the elements in the National Electricity System under quality and reliability premises
  • Wholesale Electricity Market: Mandatory energy nodal spot-market, with bilateral agreements and auctions for basic services, clean energy certificates and transmission financial rights
  • Planning: Plans the expansion and upgrades in the National Transmission Grid and the General Distribution Grid
  • Open Access: Establishes the infrastructure and technical requirements for granting non-discriminatory open access to the interconnection of generators and the connection of load centers

As an Independent System Operator, CENACE performs its functions under the principles of efficiency, transparency and objectivity, meeting the criteria of quality, reliability, continuity, safety and sustainability in the operation and control of the National Electric System. CENACE operates the Wholesale Electricity Market in conditions that promote competition, efficiency and impartiality, through the allocation and optimal dispatch of power plants to meet the energy demand of the National Electric System.

Additionally, CENACE is responsible for proposing the expansion and modernization programs of the National Transmission Network and for the General Distribution Networks, which, if authorized by the Ministry of Energy (SENER), are included in the National Electricity System Development Program (PRODESEN).

Mexico’s National Electricity System has 13 international electricity interties with the United States in the north (11) and with Belize and Guatemala in the south (2).

Major incidents & preventive measures

Partial collapse of the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico. May 23, 2017 at 11:00 am.

The three Mexican states which comprise the Yucatán Peninsula suffered total interruption of the electricity service, with the exception of two: Ciudad del Carmen, Campeche and Chetumal, Quintana Roo.

The cause of disruption was the simultaneous opening of the two 400 KV lines that go from Tabasco to Campeche due to failure in one of them caused by a grassland fire. A total of 1.272 million users were affected. Service was gradually recovered, reestablishing at 18:51.

Restoration process:

  • 11:00 – Yucatán Peninsula’s electricity system collapses.
  • 11:30 – Potential to start up the Lerma, Mérida and Valladolid power plants. The Static Var Compensator (SVC) of Escárcega is recovered.
  • 12:00 – Generating units # 5 Valladolid and # 3 of Mérida online. Mérida and Campeche grid normalized. Potential to Cancún is provided.
  • 12:30 – The main grid was restored, except for the electric systems in the tourist areas of Cancún, Riviera Maya and Cozumel.
  • 13:02 – A recovery level of 1,300 MW is achieved. The rest of the load pending to be reestablished continues as generating units located in the Peninsula are synchronized.
  • 18:51 – 100% of the affected load is recovered by synchronizing the required generation.


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