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Cubas Energy Revolution Helps Restore Power after Gustav
For the second time in just four years, the province’s electricity network has been knocked out by hurricanes. When Hurricane Charley passed through in 2004 the region was left without electricity for 10 days, but this time, thanks to a new back up system of sets of fuel oil and diesel power generators, the province has not gone without basic services.

Charley knocked down 30 high voltage towers, but Gustav was much worse, taking down 137, the majority of which were located in the municipalities of San Cristobal and Consolacion del Sur. However this time, during the passing of Gustav, 597 emergency generators worked continuously supplying basic services such as bakeries, polyclinics, hospitals and food processing centers, said Ricardo Gonzalez, a National Electrical Company official.

Barely 48 hours after the hurricane, close to 40 percent of the population has electricity in their homes supplied by the independent electrical generators that were part of nationwide program to overhaul the country’s management of fuel and energy called the Energy Revolution. There are currently eight of these micro-systems supplying electricity to the municipalities of Sandino, Guane, Mantua, San Juan and San Luis.

Nevertheless, the situation is still critical with 60 percent of the population without electricity as are several important production and service centers. The most difficult hurdle in reestablishing the national power system will be repairing the 220,000-volt circuits since several of the towers were destroyed.

Preliminary assessments note that Gustav caused extensive damage to the electricity infrastructure in the western region of Cuba including Isla de la Juventud. In addition to the high voltage towers, the category 4 hurricane destroyed some 4,500 poles, 530 transformers, 5,000 lampposts, 38,700 insulators and 800 tons of electrical cable, said Gonzalez.







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