Cuba will suffer blackouts again between January and April, although they will be shorter, more localized and to carry out maintenance so that in May the National Energy System (SEN) is ready for the start of the high consumption season with the increase in temperatures. He said so this Tuesday in some statements Broadcast on the Noticiero Estelar by the Minister of Energy and Mines, Vicente de la O Levy.
This would close, if fulfilled, the cycle started by Miguel Díaz-Canel on May 25, 2021, when he promised that by the end of that month “things” – in reference to the lack of electricity – would improve. A broken promise with the only exception of December and waiting for what will happen in the coming months.
The Cuban president, who postponed the recovery of the SEN at various times, ended up setting the end of the power cuts for the last month of the year and, in effect, it has been, although data from the Unión Eléctrica itself confirm that the demand at this time, largely supported by the decline in industrial activity and, above all, due to the cold front and its cool temperatureswhich made it possible to do without air conditioners and fans that consume so much energy.
“It’s one of the coldest months and it helps.” Quick in self-correcting, the minister added without hesitation. “Although the results are not due to the weather, they are due to the work of the electricians”
The Government is aware of this incidence of climate, although it is difficult for it to admit it. This Tuesday, O Levy explained the maintenance program, which will be more intense in February because, according to his analysis –he said in a slip of sincerity– “it is one of the coldest months and it helps”. Quick in self-correcting, the minister added without hesitation. “Although the results are not due to the weather, they are due to the work of the electricians.”
The minister explained that as of January 5, and for ten days, unit 3 of the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes de Cienfuegos thermoelectric plant will leave the SEN and when it rejoins unit 4, for a major 90-day maintenance. In addition, O Levy said that it will be necessary to stop Felton unit 1 again for small maintenance because, although it has been contributing 245 MW (of the 260 maximum) since December without interruption, the need for some new interventions has been detected. Unit 2, it should be remembered, has been under construction since it caught fire in June and is still in the disassembly phase.
“That means that several maintenances will coincide in some units, especially in February,” explained the minister. However, he maintained with apparent conviction that the situation is far from what it was last year. “We are estimating that there may be hours of affectation. Now, with a slight difference compared to the previous year, which coincides with a revival of the economy,” he said before citing the large industries that are going to get back on track.
“That was not foreseen when we were with 10 and 12 hours of blackout, now we are talking about levels of affectation that can be two hours or three hours. And not to the whole world and not to all the provinces. If on that day there is a way out of a large unit, there will be an affectation,” he maintained.
O Levy added that to say this he is based on simulations that have been carried out and that, not even in the worst scenario, do they reflect the situation experienced last year. In addition, he said that the incorporation of two large engines in the Moa and Mariel plants, together with the energy coming from the new Turkish patanas, will add to the SEN. “Incorporating more power is one of the lines of action of our strategy,” he argued.
The minister made these statements during a visit to the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes thermoelectric plant, in which he took the opportunity to talk with the workers and praise their work. “The collectives have remained united, working with excellent quality,” he told them.
“And not to the whole world and not to all the provinces. If on that day there is a departure of a large unit, there will be affectation”
Other planned interventions are the incorporation of 40 nearby engines to the Cienfuegos Oil Refinery, which at one point had only two working, he explained. “We follow the same strategy at the Cruces fuel oil site. We must be clear about how many engines have to enter in the month of January, how many have to enter in the month of February; how it is specified with what we have in hand” , said. The objective is that, when demand begins to rise in May, everything will be in full condition.
However, the reactions on the networks to the minister’s video show that citizens, when talking about blackouts, do not trust the promises at all. “Well it smells like a blackout, deficit, alumbrones or whatever you want,” wrote a commentator. “Maintenance every two months. If what they want is to start the blackouts, they should not justify so much,” added another.
In the agency Russian Sputnik, this Tuesday, made sure that Iran was interested in building thermoelectric plants and quoted statements by Mohammad Ali Farahnakian, adviser for international affairs to the Minister of Energy, presumably collected by the Tasnim agency, although its existence has not been verified.
Miguel Díaz-Canel toured this December through the largest energy supplier countries for the Island: Algeria, Turkey, China and Russia. In them he reached some agreements for the future with which he could try to improve the situation of the SEN, but the Cubans are not so sure that it will be achieved judging by comments such as that of a user who ironized: “Let them not pay you to Turkey so you can see”.
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