Cuba’s Electric Union Announces Blackouts and Projects ‘Stable’ Service in the Summer’

The Felton thermoelectric plant, in Holguín. (aldí

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 3 April 2022 — Cuba’s Electric Union (UNE) has announced breakdowns in the electrical service due to the “unforeseen exit” of several generation units in the Felton thermoelectric plants in Holguín, and the Diez de Octubre plant in Nuevitas, Camagüey. In addition, it is working “to guarantee the stability of this service in the summer,” it warns in a brief statement.

On Saturday, the state electricity monopoly published a concise note in which it assures that this “unforeseen situation” will cause “some damage to the service, which will be programmed by the respective territories, in order to reduce the inconvenience to the population.”

Four thermoelectric power plants are currently undergoing maintenance throughout the Island and the UNE is also working for the “restoration of two units in the Mariel thermoelectric plant.” The panorama of breakages and repairs has raised the tone of criticism from customers about the problems that the lack of supply causes in their daily lives.

“And if only the planned outages take place, but no. It hurts me to hear the cries of babies because they are hot. They cut the power whenever they want,” Cienfuegos commenter Yanisley Armas Fernández de Cumanayagua lamented on the UNE Facebook account.

“Last night in the city of Camagüey we were without electricity and now in the early hours of the morning without power and without being able to sleep due to the heat, this is a total lack of respect,” Majela Ríos added in a response. Other Internet users complain that the cut schedule is not published transparently or that blackouts exceed eight hours a day in some communities.

In mid-March, the Antonio Guiteras thermoelectric plant in Matanzas, the largest in the country, was shut down for almost a week. An “unforeseen” breakdown kept the largest generating plant on the island out of the National Electric System.

The situation has become especially complicated because the Máximo Gómez de Mariel thermoelectric plant is being repaired. On March 7, an explosion at the Artemiseña plant caused a spectacular fire in which there were no victims or injuries. However, the incident was caused by the explosion in the steam turbine of one of its units and the repairs have not been completed.

At the end of the summer, when the population was fed up, the electricity monopoly published a note of explanation to users in which it explained that most of the problems that lead to the precarious situation are attributed to the obsolete nature of the thermoelectric park and the problems in performing the required maintenance.

In the plants there are 10 blocks that have been in operation for more than 30 years, 7 exceed 40 and only two have less than 25, while the useful life of one of these thermoelectric plants is 30 to 35 years.

The UNE pointed out that the fall of the USSR, the obligation to burn fuel of poorer quality and the difficulties in acquiring materials or credits due to US sanctions created problems for an electrical system that has more demand than it can support.

In summer, 400,000 tons of fuel per month are sent to the country’s thermal power plants to cover electricity demand, which is divided between 56% of the residential sector and 44% of the business sector.


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