New Blackouts Are Announced and Cubans Get More Desperate Every Day

The Felton thermoelectric plant, in Mayarí, Holguín, one of those out of service this Thursday. (Latin Press)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 30 September 2021 — More blackouts, more citizen complaints and the same excuses from officialdom. The Cuban Electricity Union (UNE) announced this Thursday that there would be power outages on the island due to a “deficit in generation.”

According to a note published in the official press, on Wednesday night there were blackouts “due to high transference in the 220 kV lines between Nuevitas and Holguín due to the unexpected departures of Units 4 and 5 of the Diez de Octubre thermoelectric plant at 7:45 pm and 8:36 pm” and that early this Thursday “Unit 1 of the Lidio Ramón Pérez thermoelectric plant went out of service due to a leak in the boiler.”

Immediately afterwards, the state company admitted that there are five plants out of service: Tallapiedra and Mariel, in Havana; Diez de Octubre in Nuevitas (Camagüey), Felton in Mayarí (Holguín) and Antonio Maceo in Santiago de Cuba.

“The UNE works uninterruptedly to solve these faults and incorporate the blocks to the generation,” says the text in Cubadebate which, once again, does not appease the anger of the readers.

“I do not understand this issue of breaks,” Luis Orlando Águila Hernández writes in a comment. “I know that equipment breaks or suffers damage due to continuous use, but this is really unsustainable and unbearable,” and he complains: “There are always 5, 6, 7, 8 broken blocks, 4 are repaired and 3 more come out, and thus a pilot of blocks is kept out of service, not counting those that are out for maintenance.”

Another user comments: “This is already a joke, but in bad taste. We already took the game, there is but it does not touch you, it touches you but isn’t there. I don’t trust today, tomorrow yes.”

“We will never improve. Right?” laments another reader, while another reacted with irony to the news: “What a surprise!”

It could not be said that it was, in fact, since the UNE itself announced, on September 19, that despite the restoration of the service, power outages were still expected.

In peak hours this Thursday, the utility predicts more “service disruptions” and offers, yes, “apologies for the inconvenience caused.”

After a hot September and before an imminent October in which a drop in temperatures is not expected, the blackouts affect, for example, the quality of sleep of the hundreds of thousands of Cubans who cannot turn on a fan.

However, the most dramatic situation is when it comes to cooking. From the year 2000, with the Energy Revolution promoted by Fidel Castro — and with the availability of the then abundant Venezuelan fuel — firewood and kerosene were replaced in the stoves by electrical appliances that were publicized with great fanfare by the Government as a step of modernity.

Most of this equipment, provided on a subsidized basis or on credit at the beginning of this century, has already broken down, but people continue to use electricity — in rice cookers, pressure cookers, and small stoves — also given that access to gas is limited.


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