Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) of Mexico has been named the winner of the Edison Award, the electricity industry’s highest honor, for the company’s achievements in 2008.
The Edison Award recognizes U.S. and international electric companies for outstanding leadership, innovation and advancement of the electric industry. A panel of past electric company CEOs selects the award winners.
This year’s award, the 82nd annual, was presented in San Francisco at the EEI Annual Convention/Expo. American Transmission Co. and Northeast Utilities were named as the domestic winners of the Edison Award on June 24.
“Sometimes in our industry, utilities are tasked not only with keeping the lights on, but with life-saving responsibilities. CFE met this challenge when the Grijalva River threatened to overflow and was endangering area residents,” said EEI President Thomas R. Kuhn. “CFE used ingenuity and resources to contain the river, protect its customers and keep the lights on, and for this the company deserves the utmost praise.”
Following is a description of CFE’s award-winning efforts:
CFE provides services of generation, transmission and distribution of electrical power services to 26.6 million customers, nearly 80 million people. When a landslide in November 2007 completely blocked the course of the Grijalva River in Southeast Mexico, rising waters put the population downstream in grave danger and threatened to damage CFE’s Peñitas hydroelectric power plant. CFE, aided by a crisis management team of scientists and engineers, rapidly built a channel to re-connect the river around the natural dam caused by the landslide.
The company later had to enlarge the channel while also draining 10 million cubic meters of water from the river without wasting water or affecting the cities downstream. CFE meanwhile continued to operate all 23 units in its system at an average of close to 90-percent capacity, 24-hours a day, using its Discrete Supplementary Controls and meticulous operation of its dispatch system to keep the transmission grid balanced. CFE presently is constructing two permanent deviation tunnels connecting the river upstream and downstream from the natural dam in the event of any further blockage.