The electrical service in Cuba began a slow return this Wednesday to the country’s circuits, after suffering a collapse on Tuesday night attributed to the powerful Hurricane Ian, which left 2 dead.
Residents of Old Havana ran to check their freezers and the state of the food they store when they saw that the electrical service had been restored in that area.
The state of scarcity and crisis that Cubans have been facing for years, frozen food, generally chicken, is the most precious and best managed by housewives, who do magic to put three daily meals on the table.
The same thing happened in areas of Centro Habana, another municipality of this capital of 2.1 million inhabitants. Both demarcations have underground power lines, less likely to be damaged by the winds of Ian, the ferocious hurricane that hit the island hard, leaving two dead due to landslides and extensive damage.
As of Wednesday night, few areas of Havana had regained power and most of the country was still without power.
“Tonight, early morning and early morning is expected to have a positive result,” the Ministry of Energy and Mines said in a tweet at night.
The agency pointed out that from the moment the country’s electrical system was affected on Tuesday, the technicians are working on restoring the service and that “it will continue until all the base generation that is unavailable is recovered.”
According to the state-owned company Unión Eléctrica de Cuba, shortly after 5:00 p.m. local time on Tuesday, two high-voltage lines of the National Electric System (SEN) triggered their protection networks due to cables cut by the winds.
“This situation caused a power imbalance due to the excess generation in the western zone and the generation deficit in the central-eastern zone”, which caused instability between both zones and, consequently, the total failure of the electrical system, explained the entity.
At noon on Wednesday, the start-up and gradual incorporation of the eight large thermoelectric plants and the generators that comprise the national electricity system began.
In this way, the restoration of the service began for a part of the consumers in 25 areas of Havana and 11 other provinces.
However, in the provinces of Pinar del Río, Artemisa and Mayabeque, the westernmost in the country and heavily affected by Ian’s passage, the restoration of service will take longer.
Cuban dictator Miguel Díaz-Canel made a tour to verify the damage in Pinar del Río and Havana on the ground, and announced the offer of help by the Mexican government and the Venezuelan regime.
“I received phone calls from the presidents @NicolasMaduro and @lopezobrador, concerned about the situation in the country after #HurricaneIan and ready to help,” Díaz-Canel reported on his Twitter account.
Bolivia also manifested itself. “We send all our solidarity to the sister country of Cuba (…) We closely follow the evolution of the damages,” he said from his side.
Cuba, with less than 11 million inhabitants after more than 200,000 Cubans have gone into exile, has suffered daily blackouts since May due to the obsolete technology of its thermoelectric plants, maintenance work and breakdowns, but until now none had been national scope.
“Not a drop of water has fallen and since 5:20 p.m. there has been no current,” said Chelita Delgado, a 52-year-old housewife living in eastern Granma, a province that did not face Ian’s attacks.
Some localities registered brief service reconnections in the morning. Among them the Isle of Youth, 340 km south of Havana, and the first territory punished by Ian, which generates its own electricity. “We have electricity since yesterday at five in the afternoon,” said Roxana González, a 75-year-old housewife.
The Turkish floating power generator, rented by Cuba, which is anchored in the bay of Havana, had its chimneys turned off in the morning, as did the old and small Tallapiedra thermoelectric plant, located opposite, which only works in times of emergency.
“They took the light from us since yesterday at 6 in the afternoon and we don’t know when they are going to turn it on,” said disappointed Alejandro Pérez, a 35-year-old peasant from eastern Santiago de Cuba.
Ian, which hit Pinar del Río in the early hours of Tuesday, left a lot of destruction in that province and in Havana caused five total collapses and 68 partial collapses of residential buildings, the authorities reported.