Cuba has saved more than 500 million dollars in the reduction of fuel consumption
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- Business and Economy
- Science and Technology
- Politics and Government
- 07 / 14 / 2008
The aforementioned figure is expressed in relative savings, pointed out the vice-president of the Council of State and secretary of the Council of Ministers’ Executive Committee, Carlos Lage. It’s not that we have 500 million dollars, he clarified, but that part of the economy’s growth was compensated for in fuel saving, since in those same years (2006 and 2007) freight and passenger transport increased, as well as the number of factories in operation…., and therefore expenditure, but not everything, was done at the expense of more fuel consumption.
Today, Lage considered, the Energy Revolution shows, as its main results, the elimination of blackouts due to deficits in the generation of electricity, an increase in the service’s stability and supply, and the improvement of cooking conditions in homes, after the almost total elimination of kerosene as a fuel for household use, and of the dependence on this product and on liquefied gas, which were distributed in an insufficient and regularly incomplete way.
Families are also benefiting from the delivery of efficient and modern electrical appliances (refrigerators, fans, television sets…), which replaced equipment that were terrible wasters and that were highly deteriorated due to their long working life.
Nevertheless, he admitted, there have been deficiencies and mistakes in this process. We should remember, he illustrated, the hotplates that were distributed and had to be brought back, since they weren’t strong enough, and the kettles to boil water, which, instead of saving electricity, used a lot more energy. Also among the negative aspects were the delay in the distribution of television sets and quality problems in refrigerators.
The Cuban leader said that a special emphasis should be made on the fulfilment of tasks related to the transformation of the electric system to achieve efficient generation. Planned tasks have not been completed; there are thermoelectric plants that should not be working regularly now, and they are.
The generating power of fuel oil power generators, continued Lage, represents only 518 MW and should reach 977.6. Generation capacity needs to be increased with gas, and using the diesel equipment only for the amount of time for which they have been conceived, when absolutely necessary. A lot remains to be done to have an efficient electrical system, despite the advances made over the last two years, he stressed.
It’s indispensable to complete works on the mains, for the benefit of the population and for the electricity consumption reduction it should cause. So far, he assessed, repairs haven’t had the expected effects, since, although the conditions of the mains have been improved, losses in energy transport increased with the increase in generation.
There are two water pumping stations yet to be installed, and part of the new electrical appliances is pending distribution. The same thing happens with the change of motors for freight transportation; the trucks and pickup trucks included in the program are not yet in operation, due to delays in their purchase abroad. In short, said Lage, in terms of the replacement of equipment for others that are more efficient, we have to make headway.
With respect to electrical appliances, he assured, the country has made a great effort and will continue to do so in order to have spare parts at repair workshops, equipped with tools and other necessary equipment. The maintenance of a stable quality service on the part of the institutions in charge of this task, mainly the Ministry of Domestic Trade and the Iron and Steel Industry, has become an issue of major importance, he emphasized.
Waste and the misuse of fuels have not ended. There’s a lot to be saved, by way of organization, efficiency, and control, stressed the member of the Political Bureau. It’s very hard, he stressed, that energy supervision at entities can’t find problems that, if resolved, could reduce consumption.
The country has, in saving, its main source of resources, said Cuban leader Fidel Castro during the first days of the Energy Revolution project. If this was this way some three years ago when he conceived it, today, this concept has greater significance, since fuel now costs three times as much, pointed out Lage.
Concepts supporting the Energy Revolution project, concluded Lage, are of a permanent character, because it’s permanently that we have to find investments, organization and saving measures, in order to reduce fuel consumption.
ANSWERS TO THE CONCERNS OF PARLIAMENTARIANS
Multiple questions, doubts and nonconformities were expressed by the deputies. With regard to the possibilities of expanding the electric service, Vicente la O, general director of the Electricity Union (UNE), explained that, presently, the first priority is to eradicate low voltage areas and, the second one is to continue working on the standardization of the main at sugar producing areas.
However, he reported, in localities where voltage fluctuations were eliminated and, in general, rehabilitation advances, electrification also continued. Today, he recalled, 96% of the Cuban population enjoys this service -1% more than in 2007.
It’s impossible to reach all the houses located in isolated places, like those in the mountains, by way of the National Electricity and Energy System, he emphasized. The alternative, in these cases, is to use power generators, wind generators. These types of generators have been used in some of these isolated areas, but at present it’s not possible to satisfy all needs.
There’s a specific program for rural areas with the lowest level of electrification in the country, located in the provinces of Holguín, Las Tunas, Guantánamo, and Granma, pointed out the UNE official, that covers actions until 2011. On this issue, Yadira explained in that everything can’t be done at the same time, although the population’s complaints are understood.
Minister Yadira García said that solutions to attend to the bad condition of electrical installations inside the houses are now under study. It’s not easy to assume these tasks as part of the Energy Revolution project, so the alternative will be to sell cables and other materials to the population in national and hard currency, and to create brigades to offer repair services at reasonable prices.
With respect to street lighting, Vicente la O announced that the plan that has been approved includes the change of 162,000 bulbs between the second semester of 2007 and the end of 2009, to the value of more than 14 million dollars. So far, 20% of them have been replaced, and by the end of this year that percentage should get to 33%. Due to current available materials and funds, an increase in this service can’t be a priority, but to eliminate dud or defective lights, taking the decisions adopted in conjunction with administration councils as a starting point.
The head of the National Social Workers Program, Enrique Gómez, informed that there are delays in the delivery of television sets due to production problems yet to be solved. With the current rate of assembly -400 a day’ it would take years to carry out the replacement, so solutions need to be found for the approximately 900,000 that still need to be replaced.
He added that new refrigerators will be delivered only if the old ones to be replaced are working, and clarified that although a census of washing machines was made, this equipment was not included in the plan, since the energy saving they could represent does not justify their inclusion in the Energy Revolution project.
Iron and Steel Minister Fernando Acosta said that the equipment that have been distributed totals 26 500 000, and that in those places where there are delays in repairs, lack of spare parts, and quality problems, the reasons can be found in poor workmanship, because the program has all the necessary resources.
With respect to the possibility of increasing the fuel given to families as a reserve (kerosene or liquefied gas), Yadira explained that the quota that has been established will not be increased, since the country would lose the economic and financial benefit it has obtained with the use of electricity for cooking. The aforementioned fuel reserve will be replaced ahead of time only in the case of continuous electricity interruptions that justify its consumption, and with a certificate issued by the technicians at local basic electricity organizations.