Power Outages Surge in Cuba: Over 900 MW Affected and Seven Generating Units Out of Service

Tuesday, May 14, 2024 by Bella Nunez

Power outages continue to rise in Cuba, as evidenced by the 945 MW of disruptions forecasted by the Union Electrica (UNE) for this Tuesday. Yesterday, service was affected due to a generation capacity deficit throughout the day. The maximum disruption reached 1,090 MW at 8:50 p.m., during peak hours. This figure surpassed the expected 750 MW by 350 MW.

As of 7:00 a.m. on May 14, the availability of the National Electroenergetic System (SEN) was 2,000 MW, while the demand was 2,625 MW, with 622 MW affected by a generation capacity deficit. Nationally, a daytime disruption of around 750 MW is expected, a notably high figure for a daily forecast.

"The fundamental reason for the service disruptions is that seven generating units are out of service due to various reasons, either breakdowns or maintenance," said Lázaro Guerra, technical director of the UNE, in a statement to Canal Caribe.

Units Out of Service

Currently, the following units are out of service due to breakdowns: unit 6 of the CTE Mariel, units 5 and 6 of the CTE Nuevitas, and unit 2 of the CTE Felton. The following units are under maintenance: units 1 and 3 of the CTE Santa Cruz, unit 1 of the CTE Felton, and unit 3 of the CTE Renté.

Lázaro Guerra expressed optimism, stating that unit 6 of the CTE Mariel and unit 6 of Nuevitas are expected to rejoin the service tomorrow. Additionally, unit 3 of Renté is also anticipated to return to service tomorrow, suggesting that while today's situation is dire, tomorrow may be slightly better.

Thermal generation limitations amount to 308 MW. Thirty-three distributed generation plants are out of service due to fuel shortages, affecting 279 MW.

For peak hours, the following units are expected to contribute: unit 5 of the CTE Nuevitas with 75 MW, unit 4 of Energas Boca de Jaruco with 30 MW, motors from Distributed Generation currently out due to fuel with 80 MW, and motors from Distributed Generation awaiting maintenance, authorized for use with 90 MW.

With this forecast, peak hour availability is estimated at 2,275 MW, with a maximum demand of 3,150 MW, resulting in a deficit of 875 MW. If conditions remain as predicted, a disruption of 945 MW is expected during peak hours.

The power outage drama in Cuba shows no signs of improvement, leaving millions of Cubans extremely frustrated. The UNE recently admitted that the situation will remain critical until the end of June due to increased maintenance work on several Thermoelectric Plants (CTE).

"As has been reported from January to June, maintenance activities on Thermal Plants, Energas, and Distributed Generation are being increased to prepare for the months of highest consumption and demand, which are July and August, also the months when the population is on vacation," explained a note posted by the entity on Facebook.

The UNE justified "the maintenance plan until the last days of June" to minimize disruptions during the summer. However, they clarified that there will still be power outages in July and August if there are unexpected shutdowns of Generation Units.

Frequently Asked Questions about Power Outages in Cuba

Given the ongoing issues with power outages in Cuba, here are some frequently asked questions and their answers to help understand the situation better.

Why are there so many power outages in Cuba?

The primary reasons for the frequent power outages are breakdowns and maintenance of several generating units, as well as fuel shortages affecting distributed generation plants.

When is the power situation expected to improve in Cuba?

The UNE has indicated that the situation may remain critical until the end of June due to ongoing maintenance work. There might be some improvement after that, but unexpected outages can still occur.

What measures is the UNE taking to address the power outages?

The UNE is increasing maintenance activities on Thermal Plants, Energas, and Distributed Generation to prepare for the peak consumption months of July and August. They are also working to bring several generating units back online.

How are the power outages affecting daily life in Cuba?

The frequent power outages are causing significant disruptions and frustrations among millions of Cubans, affecting daily activities, businesses, and overall quality of life.

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