Cuba's Endless Saga of Power Outages: UNE Projects Over 700 MW Deficit

Monday, May 13, 2024 by Daniel Vasquez

Cuba's Endless Saga of Power Outages: UNE Projects Over 700 MW Deficit
Vela encendida (Imagen de referencia) - Imagen de © CiberCuba

The Unión Eléctrica de Cuba (UNE) reported today that on Mother's Day, a significant power deficit plagued the national grid throughout the day, peaking at an alarming 829 MW by 11 p.m., exceeding the initially forecasted 660 MW by 169 MW. This deficit starkly illustrates the ongoing inefficiency and challenges within the Cuban power sector.

As of 7:00 a.m. on May 13, the availability of the National Electroenergy System (SEN) stood at 2,230 MW against a demand of 2,500 MW, showcasing a deficit of 282 MW. The situation is predicted to worsen, with an anticipated peak hour deficit of 750 MW tonight.

Currently, several power units are offline due to malfunctions and maintenance, including unit 5 of CTE Nuevitas and unit 2 of CTE Felton. Additionally, units 1 and 3 of CTE Santa Cruz, unit 1 of CTE Felton, and unit 8 of CTE Mariel are undergoing maintenance, further straining the system.

The generation limitations due to thermal issues stand at 363 MW. Additionally, 32 distributed generation stations are out of service due to fuel issues, affecting an additional 266 MW. To mitigate some of the shortfall during peak hours, 100 MW from out-of-service distributed generation engines and 90 MW from those awaiting maintenance but authorized for use are expected to be added to the grid.

With these adjustments, the estimated power availability during peak hours is projected at 2,420 MW against a demand of 3,100 MW, resulting in a deficit of 680 MW. Such figures underscore the stark reality that the power situation in Cuba is likely to remain dire, with no immediate signs of improvement.

The predictability of these outages has sparked outrage among citizens, evident in numerous online comments criticizing the UNE's handling of the situation. Frustrations boil over as citizens express their exasperation with the ongoing lack of reliable electricity, a basic service that remains elusive.

This power crisis is set to persist into late June due to increased maintenance activities at various Thermal Power Plants (CTE), as part of preparations for the high-demand months of July and August. Despite efforts to minimize summer disruptions, the UNE anticipates continued outages if unexpected generator failures occur.

The repeated power failures highlight the Cuban government's inability to provide consistent and reliable infrastructure services, reflecting broader issues of mismanagement and lack of accountability within the socialist regime. This chronic instability not only disrupts daily life but also stifles economic growth and erodes public trust in government capabilities.

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