The energy crisis returns in Cuba with the announcement of drastic measures

Amid blackouts and scarce food, Cuba protests rattle 'cradle' of the Revolution

HAVANA, Sept. 26th. Another tough October is coming, despite the promises. The Cuban authorities are recovering the measures they took during the energy crisis last year which include everything from the total or partial paralysis of production to the shutdown of air conditioning systems or teleworking. The actions are intended to “reduce the consumption of electrical energy and make rational use of energy carriers” and are “mandatory compliance for all actors in the economy.”

The information has been disseminated by Cuban Television journalist Lázaro Manuel Alonso, who has published on his Facebook profile the order of the provincial governments of Villa Clara and Cienfuegos, with identical measures, so everything indicates that it will be extended to the rest of the island.

The list calls for the suspension of all non-basic activities between 11 am and 1 pm, and from 6 pm to 10 pm. Air conditioning will only operate from 8 to 11 am and electric ovens must be turned off during peak hours.

Water cannot be pumped in that strip either, except in the case of supply to the population, which will be “reordered.”

Regarding “continuous production” services, the plans to organize the load will be applied and the use of luminaires must be reduced, “especially in shopping centers and in the industry”, limiting their use only to those that are necessary for ” security”.

Concern is spreading among MSME owners, as they are asked to “disconnect refrigerators, refrigeration equipment, and cold chambers during peak hours, as long as the condition of the products is not affected.”

“Measures like this greatly affect the private service sector,” says one user. “It is detrimental to the income of non-state forms of management, which in turn harms salaries, investments, etc.; because the moment they decrease income, there will invariably be salary cuts and budget replanning, which, coupled with the taxes that exist, could bankrupt more than one.

Private companies are not rescued from bankruptcy at the expense of the State budget “he reflects.

The authorities have also asked that the residential sector apply the measures and be responsible in consumption and indicate that priority will be given, to the delivery of fuel, health services, obituaries, electrical guards and solid waste collection, among others.

The information from the Cienfuegos Energy Council, which has been revealed through the document itself that includes the measures, is dated last Thursday, September 21, and offers more exhaustive and bureaucratic details, although it includes some picturesque information such as the intention to “activate the youth contingents for the promotion of saving measures” or systematically publish in the media and institutional networks the importance of the rational use of energy.

In addition, it is urged to “control the consumption of non-state forms of management by the energy councils in each territory so that they do not increase, taking historical average consumption as a reference.”

“So to save money, do we paralyze the country?” a user asks the government spokesperson. “We must motivate the workers in the electrical sector, there is no qualified personnel in the thermoelectric plants, everyone has looked for other alternatives in the face of the ‘economic crisis,'” he denounces.

The 2,000 pesos that, he claims, these workers earn are insufficient even for transportation of the month.

“The issue is more about fuel than thermoelectric plants,” Alonso responds laconically.

In the last month, Cuba has continued to receive significant quantities of Venezuelan oil, despite the fact that PDVSA decreased the barrels exported.

The Island obtained, however, its generous quota of 65,000 barrels per day from Caracas, more than the average estimated in the 2000 agreements (although less than what it received in the best of times).

On the other hand, the arrivals of Mexican oil tankers at national ports have been numerous in recent months, including the one currently underway.

With these data, Cubans are already seeing systematically prolonged blackouts closer, such as those that occurred in September and October 2022 and ended with the departure from office of the previous Minister of Energy and Mines, Liván Arronte.

The arrival of his replacement, Vicente de la O Levy, coincided with a slight improvement encouraged by the December weather and helped the new owner to announce a series of scheduled maintenance that would leave the thermoelectric plants ready for May, in addition to committing to a year with brief and infrequent blackouts.

At the same time, Miguel Díaz-Canel continued to establish international alliances to capture crude oil that has proven ineffective in the face of the very deep crisis that the country is experiencing.