In the Middle of January, Cuba Has the Same Energy Deficit It Had in August

In the middle of January, the energy deficit reaches levels not seen since summer. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 29 January 2024 — “The blackouts are aggressive and extreme.” The population reacts to the energy deficit announced for this Monday with astonishment and anger, like this resident from Sancti Spíritus. “They are turning it off twice a day, in the morning and at night. According to the frequency that is planned in ’the blocks’ but in those time slots. It’s unforgiving, like it’s the middle of August. In my neighborhood I’m fine, but  some people are experiencing blackouts of nine and ten hours.”

In the middle of January, with temperatures that dropped again this morning, the Electric Union of Cuba (UNE) has once again foreseen a deficit of almost 1,000 megawatts (MW), on the third consecutive day. The official journalist Lázaro Manuel Alonso elaborated this Sunday: “The breakdowns in several units and the lack of fuel continue to be the causes. In the last days of January the effects are similar to those reported last summer.”

This highlights the seriousness of the energy situation on an Island that no longer needs to wait for hellish heat to have 12 to 14 hours of blackouts. But now, in the month when greater relief is expected, the figures are unprecedented.

Despite this, the deficit during yesterday’s peak time was 975 MW, above the 952 MW that had been predicted

The situation was aggravated on Sunday. The Antonio Guiteras thermal power plant, in Matanzas, the most important in the west of the country, was synchronized with the National Energy System (SEN). Despite this, the deficit in yesterday’s peak time was 975 MW, above the 952 MW that had been expected.

For Monday, the UNE announced that 991 MW will be missing, even with the entrance for the peak hours of unit 4 of Energas Varadero and the distributed generation engines that were stopped for maintenance and those that have been authorized for support. According to the state company, unit 5, the Diez de Octubre power plant, in Nuevitas (Camagüey) and the 2 of Lidio Ramón Pérez, in Felton (Holguín), are out of service, while unit 6 of the Máximo Gómez thermoelectric plant, in Mariel, is under maintenance.

The joint exit from the system of the two main thermoelectric plants of the east and west of the Island (Felton and Antonio Guiteras), one due to breakdown and the other for scheduled maintenance, was key. On Friday, after several days of complaints reported in several provinces, the record of electricity deficit was announced, with 1,010 MW planned for peak time, which finally reached 1,032 MW.

On Saturday the prediction dropped to 890 MW, but once again, the reality was worse than imagined, with 959 MW of deficit.

The return of the Antonio Guiteras, which on Sunday around 1 p.m. properly synchronized with the system, suggested that the most recent episode of blackouts had passed. But the announcement that the plant was contributing about 200 MW to the SEN was not reflected in the comments of customers from all over the Island, outraged once again with the favored treatment they consider to exist towards Havana, the province least affected by the lack of electricity.

What kind of math are the bosses of the Energy and Mines cartel applying to give such a high indicator?”   

“Sancti Spíritus is at the forefront of the blackouts while the capital enjoys a sweet croquette,” said one user. The few optimists who dared to vigorously congratulate “the Revolution” received a flood of criticism. “The same Revolution that gives you 8 hours of blackout,” one wrote. “What Revolution? Its meaning is to revolutionize something, to move forward. What progress is there in this country? Where is the restored electrical system, when today the whole day has been spent without power, with practically more blackouts than electricity?” added another, indignant.

The hope that the situation would calm down today, which began with cool temperatures in much of the Island, was frustrated when, after 10 in the morning, the state company announced its forecast, again close to 1,000 MW of deficit.

“What kind of math are the bosses of the Energy and Mines cartel applying to give such a high indicator? Why is there only Nuevitas, that breaks down every day, and Felton 2. Speak clearly and say that it’s because there is no oil, so that we can understand,” wrote a user of the many who complained to the UNE. Another joked with resignation: “We have continuity, we remain in the dark.”

Translated by Regina Anavy


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