The Power is Back On But Cubans Remain Concerned About Blackouts

After the breakdowns in the thermoelectric plants, the Government took drastic measures such as stopping work in ‘non-essential’ companies and institutions. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 17 May 2021 — The faults in the thermoelectric plants that, according to the authorities, caused the blackouts reported throughout the island last week, have now been repaired. “The electrical workers worked hard to solve the breakdowns in several plants in the country and achieve stability in power generation,” the State newspaper Granma published this Monday.

Specifically, the official newspaper details a failure at the Antonio Guiteras de Matanzas Thermoelectric Power Plant, “where the technical staff took less than 24 hours to resolve the break in the boiler feed valve.”

At the same time, however, the note says that “the task was not easy”: “Identifying the causes, repairing the breakdown and carrying out the checks always requires tireless work, expensive resources and initiatives from the operators.”

There were also failures, says Granma , at the Santa Cruz del Norte plant in Mayabeque province.

Despite the insistence of the official press, the power outages continue. This same Monday, the independent journalist  Iliana Hernández reported a blackout of minutes in the town of Cojímar, in the capital’s municipality of Habana del Este.

Last Friday, and after hundreds of complaints on social networks by users, the authorities said that these faults, “together with other effects on the national electricity system,” were the origin of the service interruptions.

Directives from the Ministry of Energy and Mines announced on the Roundtable TV program last Friday that the blackouts, which they avoided referring to with this name, could increase over the weekend, before which the Government took drastic measures such as stopping work in companies and institutions “that do not provide essential services to the population.”

Before that program, the explanation given by the Cuban Electricity Union (UNE) was vague. On Friday morning, an operator of the customer service number explained to this newspaper that “there was a deficiency in the demand for power for electricity service.” When asked if there is a lack of oil to produce the current, she hung up the phone.

The power cuts were especially annoying on this occasion because, in several areas of Havana, they coincided with problems in the water supply also due to repairs in the hydraulic networks.

In addition, in the country’s markets the shortages are so deep that some Internet users were concerned because the little food they had been able to get was at risk of spoiling due to the lack of refrigeration.

Many wondered about the causes of these blackouts because whenever they occur, they bring to the minds of Cubans the interruptions during the Special Period that lasted up to 12 hours and that became part of life in the 90s. Those who knew that time cannot avoid thinking that it can return.

Journalist Abraham Jiménez Enoa summarized the situation on his Facebook account. “A friend [tells me] that it’s a meltdown. How is it possible that in a country one gets up on Saturday at 8 in the morning and does not have electricity, water, bread (ad infinitum),” he wrote. “What kind of country is this? This is not even a country anymore, I told him.”


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