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February 18, 2023
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Two thirds of Cuba without power due to a “human error”


Shortly before 11 in the morning this Saturday, a “human error” in the 220 Kv Matanzas substation caused a fault that left two thirds of Cuba without power (11 of the 15 provinces), from Yumurino territory to Guantánamo , at the eastern end of the island, as reported on national television by the technical director of the electrical union (UNE), Lazaro Guerra.

The specialist explained that, as a consequence of the failure, all the thermoelectric plants located between Matanzas and Guantanamo went out of service, and only Mariel, the mobile generation units of that town and those of Havana, as well as the energies.

Guerra pointed out that the load restoration process has already begun and it has been possible to energize up to the 220 Kv substation of Sancti Spíritus, thanks to the entry into the system of unit 2 of Santa Cruz. However, he specified that it is not yet possible to offer service to all clients in the center of the country.

On the other hand, he assured that it will take a little longer to recover the generation capacity in the eastern half of the nation, where only a few consumers have electricity thanks to the generation of nine microsystems.

Lázaro Guerra pointed out that, if the progressive entry into the system of new generating units goes smoothly, the service must be reestablished throughout the country at night.

At this time, synchronization has already been achieved with the Antonio Guiteras thermoelectric system, in Matanzas, which had gone out of circulation since Friday night to solve a fault in the water supply line.

Likewise, the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes power plant is currently starting up, in Cienfuegos, and it is expected that later the Nuevitas (Camagüey) and Renté (Santiago de Cuba) units will be able to join this process, which would allow linking the entire System National Electric.

This Saturday, in addition to the effects from Matanzas to Guantánamo, there were blackouts in several municipalities of Havana, Artemisa and Mayabeque due to an Automatic Trigger by Frequency, according to the UNE authorities in those territories through their Telegram channels.

Said trip occurs when a generating plant with a certain power goes out unexpectedly or suddenly and the system as a whole needs to release that load until the previously lost generation power can be recovered.

This is a protection mechanism that is activated when the frequency reaches minimum permissible values ​​and the stability of the entire electrical system as a whole is compromised, causing the automatic disconnection of some circuits, just as happened in Havana, Artemisa and Mayabeque.

During this week there have already been two large-scale failures in the SEN. Last Monday the electrical service was interrupted in almost half of the island due to a breakdown in the 220 kilovolt high voltage lines. The reconnection occurred almost five hours after the problem, which left provinces from Sancti Spíritus to Guantánamo without power.

The Ministry of Energy and Mines said the cause of the failure was a fire in a rural area.

Unión Eléctrica overcomes ruling that turned off half of Cuba

Last week’s supply cut was one of the largest since last September 27, when a moment of “zero generation” of electricity was recorded after Hurricane Ian passed through the west of the island.

The SEN is in a precarious situation, as evidenced last year, when blackouts were daily and lasted up to 12 hours a day in some regions. The effects sometimes reached almost 40% of the country.

Among the causes are the age of the eight terrestrial thermoelectric plants in the country, with an average of more than 40 years in use; the lack of investment and the lack of fuel for the plants.

Blackouts have decreased significantly 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.

The Cuban government reported last Thursday that it expects an average of interruptions due to blackouts of about three hours a day until next May due to scheduled maintenance at thermoelectric plants.

The Minister of Energy and Mines, Vicente de la O Levy, explained on television that the maintenance will be to improve the service for next summer and reduce outages due to breakdowns that caused long blackouts last year.

With information from EFE

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