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Major blackout leaves half of Cuba, including Havana in the dark for hours

Tuesday, September 11th 2012 - 05:55 UTC
Full article 5 comments
According to the government the situation was normal five hours later, but not in the capital According to the government the situation was normal five hours later, but not in the capital

A failure in a main transmission line in central Cuba caused a blackout that cut electricity for hours to more than half the country on Sunday night, but now power has been mostly restored, the government said on Monday.

The Ministry of Basic Industry said in a statement there was an “interruption” in a 220.000-volt line between the cities of Ciego de Avila and Santa Clara, which caused a power outage that stretched more than 725 km from Camaguey in the southeast to the westernmost province of Pinar del Rio and included the capital Havana.

The blackout partially affected three provinces, but was total from Villa Clara, about 257 km east of Havana, west to Pinar del Rio, an area that includes the capital city, according to an update read on Cuban television.

It said the national electricity system was “normalized” at 2:30 am, using emergency generators and power from 13 “isolated” systems, but warned there could be more blackouts during peak usage hours in the western provinces until three major generating plants are brought back on line on Tuesday.

The cause of the transmission line failure was being investigated, but apparently the three plants shut down, which usually happens when a power system suffers a major problem.

The ministry did not say how many people were affected. Cuba has a population of 11 million, 2.2 million of them in Havana.

The power went out just after 8 pm on Sunday and was restored in some of the affected area within a couple of hours, but the outage lasted five hours or more in Havana where off-duty officers were called in to direct traffic in the dark streets with no functioning traffic signals.

Blackouts are not uncommon in Cuba due to its aging electrical system.

Hundreds of emergency generators were brought in starting in 2004 after a hurricane knocked down major transmission lines and left much of the country without power.

This blackout was more extensive than most in recent times and reminded some of the so-called “Special Period” in the 1990s when the country faced severe energy shortages following the collapse of the Soviet Union, its top benefactor.

Categories: Energy & Oil, Latin America.

Top Comments

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  • ChrisR

    Well they have been stumbling around in the dark for 50 years due to the two old farts 'running', or should that be ruining, the country?

    Failures like these are a given with old, electro-mechanical control gear.

    Sep 11th, 2012 - 07:47 pm 0
  • ManRod

    BK and Think's heaven....

    Sep 12th, 2012 - 03:28 pm 0
  • Rufus

    I do like the euphamisms that power companies use everywhere...

    The last time we had a power cut it was because some burk on a bulldozer had “interrupted” (i.e. severed) a HV cable that had thrown the trip switches for the equivalent of three city blocks and a mile of streetlights.

    Sep 13th, 2012 - 01:35 pm 0
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