HAVANA, April 20 The Antonio Guiteras Thermoelectric Plant in Matanzas, the largest Cuban plant, is not raising its head. After the most recent failure, last Saturday,that again motivated its exit from the national electrical system, the engineers tried to connect it this Tuesday, but the hydraulic test carried out “showed problems” that prevented it and it will not be ready this Wednesday either, as announced.
The general director of the plant, Misbel Palmero Aguilar, said that the “difficulties that have arisen in the last few hours make it necessary to use lifting equipment to be able to ascend to a height of 24 meters, where the breakdowns related to the boiler furnace are found,” according to the official newspaper of the province, Girón.
The engineer said that work would be done throughout this Tuesday so that the thermoelectric plant would return to the system before the peak hours of this Wednesday, but it has not been possible.
“But he had understood that the thermoelectric plant was repaired a month or so ago, that there is a solution to demolish it and throw it into the sea”
The Electric Union explained that a new fault was detected in the test that will prevent the incorporation announced for today and that, since the Máximo Gómez de Mariel is also out of action, there is not enough generation to cover the demand and there will be more “affectations” , that is, outages and blackouts.
“Measures were adopted to reduce consumption in the state sector. In these conditions, it is vitally important to continue making rational use of energy in homes,” insists the note, released this Wednesday around 8 in the morning. .
Although the statement insists that the workers are making an effort to “restore the stability of the electrical service in the shortest possible time”, the spirits do not spread precisely among the population, who already yesterday expressed their displeasure on Girón’s social networks. Users doubt that, if the repair goes ahead as soon as possible, a problem will not occur again in the very short term.
“And within a week it breaks again,” one user lamented. “But I understood that the thermoelectric plant was repaired a month or so ago, that has a solution to demolish it and throw it into the sea,” alleged another.
The Antonio Guiteras thermoelectric plant, in addition to being the largest electricity producer in Cuba, is considered by the authorities to be “the most efficient.”
On March 17, the plant announced that it would be paralyzed for six days due to an “unexpected” breakdown, which was attributed to a leak in the unit’s boiler. This not only affected generation capacity but was also decisive for the drop in reserves.
At that time, just like now, the Máximo Gómez thermoelectric plant in Mariel, in Artemisa, had also just left the system due to a fire on March 7. The authorities then rushed to regulate the sale of fuel, necessary to feed the generator sets and guarantee public transport.
This caused a peak in demand among users, alarmed by a possible new gasoline crisis, which generated queues of up to 8 hours in the Cuban capital to get as many reserves as possible.
With these problems resolved, partially as always, at the beginning of April there were breakdowns at the thermoelectric power plants of Felton, in Holguín, and Diez de Octubre in Nuevitas, Camagüey.
“Soon another one will come out of circulation, in the summer they can’t stand it, they are all old with rouge,” said a user last night
“Soon another one will come out of circulation, in the summer they can’t stand it, they are all old with rouge,” said a user last night in Girón’s publication, chastened by the constant entry and exit of plants in the system and the constant blackouts. Many commenters warned that they had been without power for more than 10 hours.
With summer at the gates, the population fears more months of intense heat with limitations in electrical current, essential for air conditioning to help alleviate high temperatures.
These shortcomings, together with those of food and sanitary conditions, fueled the claims of many Cubans who, also tired of the lack of freedoms, took to the streets on July 11, 2021 in the largest anti-government protests on the island in decades.
In September, the National Electrical Union attributed Cuba’s electrical problem to the lack of execution of maintenance programs, something essential in such an obsolete system.
In an extensive article published by the official press, the electricity monopoly explained that of the 19 generation units in the country, 16 work “outside their maintenance cycles”, 10 blocks have been in operation for more than 30 years, 7 exceed 40 and only two are under 25.
All the plants begin to exceed, when they do not exceed it, the useful life of one of these plants, situated between 30 and 35 years.