A New Breakdown in the Antonio Guiteras Power Plant Causes Another Day with a More than 40 Percent Electricity Deficit

It will take 30 hours for the boiler to cool down before repairs can be made at the plant. (Cubadebate)

14ymedio biggerEFE/14ymedio, Havana, 13 September 2021 — The state company Unión Eléctrica de Cuba (UNE) announced on Tuesday that the energy deficit will be around 41% of the maximum generation capacity in the afternoon-night schedule of highest consumption.

The high deficit occurs a day after the departure from the national electricity system of the country’s main thermoelectric plant, Antonio Guiteras, located in the province of Matanzas. According to the UNE, the plant suffered a new “blowout” in one of its boilers. It will take 30 hours for the  boiler to cool down, before performing any repair of the breakdown.

With this scenario, a day is expected with power cuts, a situation that has affected the entire national territory for several months, including Havana.

The blackouts can exceed 10 consecutive hours, which has a negative impact on Cuba’s economic and social life, in the midst of the crisis it is experiencing. The UNE calculates for today a generation capacity of 2,206 megawatts (MW), a maximum demand of 3,100 MW and a deficit of 894 during peak hours.

The company, which reports to the Ministry of Energy and Mines, also estimates a maximum impairment during the evening of 964 MW. Power cuts, due to breaks and failures in outdated thermoelectric plants, lack of fuel and scheduled maintenance, are increasingly frequent in the country.

In 60 of the 62 days of July and August, blackouts were recorded on the Island, according to UNE data collated by EFE. The Cuban government has expressed its intention to reduce them before the end of the year, through repairs and new investments, but it’s not the first time that they have planned improvements that they do not meet once the date has arrived.

The blackouts affect all areas of the economy and notably the daily life of Cubans, which is increasingly inciting social discontent. This was one of the main causes of the protests on July 11, 2021, the largest in decades, and also of those that have occurred this year throughout the national territory.

Cuba relies heavily on foreign oil to produce energy (thermoelectric plants generate two-thirds of electricity), and its main supplier, Venezuela, has significantly decreased its shipments.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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