Factories, Businesses Close In Sonora As Power Outages Continue In Mexico
Neighboring Sonora is one of just a few Mexican states that haven’t experienced rolling blackouts in recent days because of natural gas shortages caused by disrupted supply from Texas. But a growing number of businesses and manufacturing plants in the state have had to close or reduce operations because of the shortage.
Industry groups are reporting that some 100 restaurants and several factories have closed in the state capital because of a lack of gas supply.
"For the moment there are seven, but we believe that from here until the 23rd, more are going to keep closing," said Gerardo Vazquez, head of Index Sonora, which represents the state’s export manufacturers. He's referring to export manufacturing plants that have shut down because of cuts to their natural gas supply.
Across the country, Mexico’s national gas controller has required dozens of high volume industrial users to reduce their consumption — in some cases almost entirely. Others, of course, have been forced to close because of power outages, particularly in Chihuahua, Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon, which have been hardest hit by the blackouts.
Mexican officials are also concerned the situation could worsen if Texas companies completely halt sales of natural gas to customers outside of the state, as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered them to do on Wednesday. It's unclear if that ban will be enforced.
Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Wednesday that the country was working through diplomatic channels to stop that from happening.
“I have information that it wasn’t approved, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not there, this affects not only Mexico but other U.S. states," he said, adding that he understands the tough situation Texas is in.
López Obrador also called on all Mexican's to reduce their energy consumption during peak hours, from 6-11p.m.
“Help us consume less, every Mexican. The problem is already practically resolved, but we are all going to help so that there are reserves and to be sure that we can maintain our electric system," he said during a press conference Thursday.
Previously, officials had said they expected blackouts to be resolved before the weekend. But many believe at least some issues will continue into next week.