The ‘energy contingency’ in Cuba worsens

The 'energy contingency' in Cuba worsens

HAVANA, March 3. Blackouts spread in Cuba on Saturday when the State Electrical Union (UNE) estimated more than 1,000 megawatts (MW) of generation deficitdue to a lack of fuel and shutdowns of more thermoelectric units, such as Nuevitas 6, which is undergoing new maintenance until the end of April.

The pro-government journalist Bernardo Espinosa reported on the system’s departure from the plant in Camagüey in a Facebook post that he titled “Energy Contingency.”

“Nuevitas 6 in planned maintenance. They work in 24-hour shifts, seven days a week, to accelerate (the) intervention. The projection is to restore that 100 MW generation (generation) machine before the end of April. Brigades from thermoelectric and other plants. Details in upcoming broadcasts of the Cuban News Channel,” Espinosa wrote.

On Saturday, the usual UNE news release predicted island-wide blackouts due to generation deficits, which the newspaper Trabajadores attributed “to the increase in demand due to rising temperatures and fuel shortages.”

The UNE estimated an availability of 2,160 MW and a maximum demand of 3,150 MW for peak hours, which resulted in a deficit of 990 MW and an impact of 1,060 MW.

“Although fuel was obtained to balance the supply from the Guiteras exit during the 17-day maintenance, there is not enough to generate 864 in 95 distributed generation plants, the Santiago de Cuba lake and 14 plants with low coverage (91 MW)”, noted the note.

Regarding the Melones floating unit, the one with the greatest capacity, the authorities reported that in the morning it was receiving fuel.

The situation was critical on Saturday even though the incorporation of Mariel unit 5 was planned. In the same thermoelectric plant, unit 8 is still outside the system because it requires “larger and more time-consuming work.”

In addition to the current stoppage of Antonio Guiteras in Matanzas and unit 6 of Nuevitas in Camagüey for maintenance, the injured unit 2 of Felton is also still out of the system.

The situation of the energy matrix in Cuba continues from bad to worse. Between the constant breakdowns of the plants and the sudden departure of these from the National Electric System (SEN), plus the constant lack of fuel and the lack of financing to repair them, the country’s economy continues to stagnate and the population increases its stress and hardship due to blackouts.

Cubacontrol Manzanillo commented on the UNE’s official Facebook post: “In Granma we are averaging 12 hours of blackout per day for circuits and blocks, with up to three rotations of four hours of service outage.

Even circuits outside of the planning are being affected. rotation. Please, finish enabling the Santiago site to see if we have life. We have been in this situation since January.”

“The blackout party continues, this season has more than 1,000 episodes,” said Manuel Pérez. “This is already too much, until when. This country, which is so bad, and now with the blackouts, where are we going to end up,” lamented Kati Corría.

In the impoverished state in which the SEN is on the Island, it is an impossible mission for the economy to move forward. Currently, less than 50% of the total oil-based and distributed generation capacity is operational. This is why blackouts occur between eight and 16 hours.

As the economist Emilio Morales highlighted in a published article, the Island has serious problems with the supply of oil from abroad, since Venezuela has not been able to send the agreed quantities of oil and the country does not have the capital to buy it on the international market.

Nor does it have access to financing lines that allow a long-term financing program to be able to acquire the fuel they need.

The Government is barely surviving with the oil that President Manuel López Obrador has been donating to it, which already amounts to more than 390 million dollars, a situation that is unsustainable for the Mexican company PEMEX.