Scheduled blackouts begin in Havana

Havana.- Cuban authorities began applying scheduled power outages in Havana on Monday, more than two months after taking the same measure in other provinces due to difficulties in producing and distributing energy on the island, AFP confirmed.

“At 10:30 in the morning they cut off the power as planned, now we are going to see what time it comes back, if it comes back on time,” a 74-year-old retiree, a resident of Habana del Este, told AFP.

The residents of the capital, with 2.1 million inhabitants, will suffer two cuts a week of four hours each, Governor Reinaldo García Zapata announced on Friday, quoted by the official newspaper Tribuna de La Habana.

The cuts will not affect hospitals or water and gas pumping, among other services, García Zapata said.

“This is the time to contribute so that the rest of Cuba suffers less from the undesirable blackouts,” said the Governor, asking Havanans to be “in solidarity” with the population of the provinces.

In recent weeks these electricity cuts have generated irritation in the population, there have even been some protests in rural towns, where people have banged pots and pans shouting slogans at night.

The annoyance is expressed at night because the strong summer heat makes it difficult to sleep without fans or air conditioners.

The blackouts were one of the triggers for the massive anti-government protests on July 11, 2021, the largest in 60 years. Some 700 protesters are still in prison for those marches.

The blackouts are due to maintenance work in the obsolete power generation plants and frequent breakdowns in these facilities in the country.

“The emergency situation that the electrical system is going through will continue and will gradually recover,” said Edier Guzmán, director of thermal generation at Unión Eléctrica, a state company in charge of the production and supply of electricity.

The country’s electrical system currently has an average power distribution capacity of 2,500 megawatts, insufficient for the demand of households at times of maximum consumption, which reaches 2,900 megawatts, according to official information.

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