La Guiteras Power Plant Lasts Only One Day Before Shutting Down on the Cuban Electric System

View of the Antonio Guiteras thermoelectric plant, the largest in Cuba, located in the province of Matanzas. / TV Yumurí/Facebook

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 20 March 2024 — The main thermoelectric power plant in the country, the Antonio Guiteras of Matanzas, left the National Electric System (SEN) just 24 hours after its synchronization. Without further details, early in the morning of Wednesday, the Electric Union of Cuba (UNE) announced that its only unit is out of service “due to a breakdown.”

The Guiteras entered the SEN on Monday, March 18, after being out of service 17 days for maintenance. Its arrival was eagerly awaited, since it is the plant with the most generation, 280 megawatts (MW) at full capacity. Journalist José Miguel Solís, of Radio Rebelde in Matanzas, follows the wanderings of the thermoelectric plant. He published an image of the Guiteras in full operation shortly before 1:00 in the afternoon on Tuesday, when its capacity was 270 MW.

According to Radio 26 of Matanzas, in the early hours of Wednesday the plant suffered an “inconvenience in the boiler,” in addition to a steam leak in one of the turbines, which the technicians hope to solve in a short time. “The correction of the breakdowns, natural after an intense maintenance of 1,500 parts, will allow the reinstatement of the unit before the time of maximum demand,” the media said.

This Monday, the Minister of Energy and Mines, Vicente de la O Levy, celebrated the return of the western colossus that, together with a tanker that was supposed to arrive with fuel “in the middle of the week,” could alleviate the huge deficit reached in the last month, when records showed a deficit of up to 45% of the daily demand for electricity throughout the Island. The blackouts have even reached Havana, traditionally free from the most extensive cuts that are common in the interior of the country, especially in the east.

The Minister of Energy and Mines, Vicente de la O Levy, celebrated the return of the western colossus, together with a tanker that was supposed to arrive with fuel “in the middle of the week”

The shortage of energy, which shuts down water pumping systems, air conditioners and fans, and causes problems with cooking in homes and businesses, among other things, have forced hundreds of Cubans into the streets throughout the country. The forecast of two weeks of calm announced by the authorities is now meaningless with the departure of the Guiteras.

In addition, unit 2 of the Felton plant, in Holguín, is no longer in the system due to a breakdown, and unit 8 of the Mariel plant and unit 6 of Nuevitas are undergoing maintenance, while the “limitations in thermal generation” as the UNE calls them, are 457 MW.

The total forecast for this Wednesday, in the middle of this panorama, is 940 MW of deficit, favored by a cooler climate than last week. “They can’t pretend that putting patches and glue on a transformer of such power can solve the problem,” says a customer. Unfortunately, what the Guiteras needs is a total maintenance on everything, and there’s no money for that.”

Translated by Regina Anavy


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.