The state-owned Unión Eléctrica (UNE) called the situation facing the National Electric Service ?complex,? while on social media Cubans are venting their weariness with the ongoing blackouts they constantly suffer, which worsened this week after the shutdown of several generation units.
According to a press release from the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MINEM), Felton's Unit 1 had its boiler on since Friday afternoon, and was "in the process of starting up, after 76 hours of intense work."
According to the ministry, "with its synchronization the situation of the National Electric System (SEN) will improve, but we are not able to meet the demand."
The Ministry acknowledged that although this plant (that with the greatest installed generation capacity in Cuba, located in the municipality of Mayarí, Holguín province) could begin to produce energy, "six thermal units continue to fail, and the scheduled maintenance at Felton 2, Mariel 8 and Tallapiedra will continue, which is why there will continue to be problems with the electric service in the next few days."
According to the official statement the situation at the SEN "continues to be complex," and is "shaped by several factors," especially "the financial limitations and the blockade imposed by the US Government on our country, which have prevented the required maintenance from being carried out in a timely manner."
"At the moment, of the 20 blocks we have 16 out of the capital maintenance cycle, also burning a very aggressive fuel that shortens the operating cycles between maintenance and requires an intensification of the cleaning and washing processes and the replacement of pipelines subject to high corrosion," said MINEM.
"This makes the system very sensitive, many breakdowns occur, and it is working with many limitations. The blocks, when they are in service, do not reach their maximum power, and require interventions because they lose loads very quickly," he added.
This week, however, Unión Eléctrica blamed an "operating error" for the shutdown of two generating units at the Antonio Maceo Thermoelectric Plant, popularly known as Renté, which caused total blackouts in the provinces of Santiago de Cuba and Guantánamo on Wednesday.
According to a statement from the state-owned Unión Eléctrica, the event occurred while "a group of thermoelectric power plants were undergoing maintenance, in addition to other generation units that were out of order."
"In addition, not associated with the previous event, there was an unforeseen boiler leak in Unit 1 at the Lidio Ramón Pérez thermoelectric power plant in Felton," in Holguín, the report added.
The blackouts affecting the whole country are a constant source of complaints on the networks. Cuban writer Pedro de Jesús López Acosta grumbled about them from Fomento, Sancti Spíritus.
"Enough justifications and hot air. It is evident that Unión Eléctrica is incapable of maintaining stable generation and service in Cuba. It is time for them to make radical decisions. I don't know if they will have to create a joint enterprise, with foreign capital, but this situation is unbearable. We have had almost a year of instability and blackouts. This is no way to live or work," he wrote on his Facebook wall.
The Unión Eléctrica's social network wall is plastered with complaints. Yaray Jimenez Leyva replied to one of the state entity’s posts: "And where do I call when I have no electricity 14 hours a day? Is their plan to save on the country's fuel in the province of Guantanamo? Because I see nothing that can justify this abuse … there is no other name for it. I understand the situation we are living in, but not this."
In an act of unrest, in the middle of a nighttime blackout, in the Granma municipality of Guisa, unidentified vandals threw rocks through the windows of a CIMEX store and an ETECSA office, according to official press reports.