Half of Cuba is without electricity due to a failure in a high voltage line
HAVANA, Feb. 13th This power outage is one of the largest since September 27, when Hurricane Ian plunged the island into complete darkness .A “fault” in high-voltage lines of 220 kilovolts (KV) in Cuba this Monday left the center and east of the island without power supply, the Presidency reported on Twitter.
According to the state company Unión Eléctrica (UNE), 7 of the 15 Cuban provinces have been without power since afternoon: from the Ciego de Ávila plant to the eastern Camagüey, Las Tunas, Granma, Holguín, Santiago de Cuba and Guantánamo.
The Ministry of Energy and Mines confirmed on social networks that the cause of the accident “was the fire in a cane field in the area”, as the owner of this portfolio, Vicente de la O Levy, had suggested as a hypothesis shortly before.
He also indicated that “the system is being restored”, which “will take between 4 and 5 hours”.
The “network failure”, as described by the UNE, occurred between Sancti Spíritus and the municipality of Nuevitas (Camagüey).
This cut in supply is one of the largest since last September 27, when a moment of “zero generation” of electricity was reached after passing through the west of the island of Hurricane Ian, with a strength of 3 out of 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale. The island was left in complete darkness.
Since then, blackouts have decreased significantly, especially since the second half of December, and have remained at lower levels in the first weeks of 2023, with effects below 10% during peak demand hours.< /b>
The Cuban energy system is in a precarious situation, as evidenced last year, when blackouts were daily and prolonged, up to 12 hours a day in some regions. The effects sometimes reached almost 40% of the country.
Among the causes of this situation is the age of the 8 land-based thermoelectric plants in the country -with an average of more than 40 years in use-, the deficit of investments in the national energy system and the lack of fuel for the plants.
In addition to the eight generators, the country has eight floating plants that it rents to Turkey and to a lesser extent solar and wind power units.
The lack of electricity caused in the first days of October unusual street protests in various neighborhoods of Havana and some provinces.
Before, they had begun to affect since 2021, when they became one of the reasons for the historic marches of July 11 of that year.
The situation has been exacerbated in recent years by the serious economic crisis that the country is going through due to the confluence of the pandemic, the tightening of the US sanctions, and the errors in the national monetary policy.
The blackouts have a significant economic cost, as the Cuban government has recognized, and they also generate social discontent, as evidenced last year.