The Cuban Ministry of Energy and Mines announced this Tuesday that, after almost three weeks without blackouts on the island, they are expected to return in February, coinciding with maintenance at thermoelectric plants, according to state television.
The coincidence of the shutdown of several power plants due to planned maintenance – in order to improve the service for next summer – could affect the electricity supply, warned the Minister of Energy and Mines, Vicente de la O Levy.
However, the minister pointed out that the cuts will be “nothing compared to the 10 and 12 hours (blackouts) that occurred last October” in almost all Cuban territories.
He also recalled that since last December 17, the generating load demanded in the country has been served 24 hours a day, which has meant a period of “0 deficit with 0 blackouts.”
De la O Levy made this reference during a visit to the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes thermoelectric plant, in the central province of Cienfuegos, where he learned about the preparations for maintenance of two of its generating units that will begin on January 5, one for 10 days and after the reincorporation another one will be repaired for 90 days.
The minister explained that the objective of the current work is to have the Cienfuegos units ready next May, with 158 megawatts (MW) each, and to have more diesel engines in full generation.
Since the last two weeks of December and the first of 2023, no interruptions in the electricity supply have been reported on the Caribbean island, a situation that responds to a greater availability of megawatts MW, as indicated by the state company Unión Eléctrica de Cuba ( UNE).
The Cuban government announced last September its goal of reducing blackouts before the end of last year with repairs and new investments.
The energy crisis that hit the country in the past months was reflected in daily blackouts that caused social unrest.
The island’s authorities say that the main causes of the blackouts are breakages and failures in the outdated thermoelectric plants, the lack of fuel and scheduled maintenance.
Seven of the eight terrestrial power stations are over 40 years old, when the average age of these infrastructures is thirty.
Blackouts were one of the main reasons behind the anti-government protests on July 11, 2021, the largest in decades.
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