Reports from Cuba: Almost all industries in Sancti Spiritus, Cuba shut down to save energy

Mercedes Garcia reports in 14yMedio from Sancti Spiritus via Translating Cuba:

Almost All the Industries of Sancti Spiritus, Cuba, Are Shut Down to Save Energy

In the meat industry, it is not enough to work during the hours without sun, but rather the temperature range at which the refrigerators work must be changed.

The cuts extend throughout Cuba due to the energy problems that put an end to a summer whose worst part is just beginning. The directors of companies in Sancti Spíritus gathered their workers on Monday to give them the bad news: practically all production processes must be stopped.

The announcement is no small thing. Sancti Spíritus is part of a group of provinces with a high presence of state-owned companies dedicated to the production of food, from baby compotes to shellfish grown on its coasts, or in its livestock, including its traditional pig farming, of which there is very little left.

On June 13, several state companies received “a ukase from above,” an employee linked to dairy production in the province details to 14ymedio. “They told us that the electrical system cannot withstand the current rate and that we have to reduce all the consumption that we can,” says this source, who participated in one of the meetings in which the new savings regulations were distributed.

“I know that it was sent to all the companies because it was what was said among the big bosses,” details this employee. His fear is that in a traditionally cattle-raising province, the state cold-storage where meat from the entire province is stored “is going to implement the closing of the refrigerators and the reduction of personnel. During the day they are not going to be able to open the refrigerators, they have to do it at night or early in the morning, to avoid letting the cold out.”

But it is not enough to do it in the hours without sun, you have to change the margin in which the refrigerators where meat is stored work. “There is a margin of plus or minus -15 degrees, but normally they remain between zero and minus five degrees” and now they will have to be reduced even more, he explains to this newspaper. The limit of the cuts is set by a category yet to be deciphered, but the “vital” productions will remain unaffected.

Among the essentials for the new regulations are dairy products. “We don’t know how they are going to manage to maintain the milk distribution chain with this if, right now and despite the fact that the planned cut has not been implemented, the milk often arrives sour at the customers’ homes.”

The La Estancia industry, producer of compotes for children, could also be among the most affected by the measure. “They ordered it to shut down, even though most of what it produced is sold in freely convertible currency (MLC).” The final product, made from natural fruits, would be among the most affected by the cutback to the Sancti Spíritus industry.

“If they are going to stop our production, what are we going to produce?” laments the employee.

This same Monday, the official press reported that the Lidio Ramón Pérez thermoelectric plant, from Felton, in Holguín, is not operational, after “Block 1” of the plant was disconnected early Monday morning. It is the largest capacity plant in the country.

The newly disconnected unit will receive a “10-day planned maintenance.” This, together with the repairs to Block 2, which, as notified by the Electric Union (UNE), “will begin work in early July,” will increase “the tension in the National Electric System.” In other words, they expect more blackouts for the population.

The UNE also warns that the Otto Parellada thermoelectric plant, known as Tallapiedra, in Old Havana, and Unit 6 of the Antonio Maceo plant, in Santiago de Cuba, are “out of service for maintenance.” Nor does Block 3 of this last thermoelectric plant work “due to breakdowns” either.

Other damaged Units are 6 and 7 of the Máximo Gómez, in the port of Mariel, west of Havana; the 3 of the Ernesto Guevara, in Santa Cruz del Norte, Mayabeque, and the 4 of the Tenth of October, in Nuevitas, Camagüey.

Still working, indicated the UNE, is Block 4 of the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes thermoelectric plant, in Cienfuegos, which “has already been incorporated into the generation.”

For now, the city of Sancti Spíritus spent the night from Monday to Tuesday without power. A dark omen for the whole country.