Fwd: [CubaNews] Cuban Oil Production Distances the Specter of Power Cuts

From: michael a. lebowitz (mlebowit@SFU.CA)
Date: Thu Jul 10 2003 - 14:35:34 EDT

>Granma  International English Edition
>Havana,  July 9, 2003
>Cuban oil production distances the specter of power cuts
>BY ANNE-MARIE GARCÍA -Special for Granma International-
>THE specter of power cuts during the summer months has been
>fearfully anticipated by Cubans since the early 1990s, given
>that it is the season of highest electricity consumption in
>the year. However, Víctor Puentes, head of the department
>regulating electricity demand in Cuba, has no such fears
>because "for the first time this year the island is
>generating all its electricity with national oil."
>Puentes added: "the country is producing 11,000 tons of
>crude oil per day and national electricity demands can be
>met with 9,000 tons."The official explained that the demand
>is very close to the generating capacity at peak hours,
>hence concerns and the intensification of the savings
>program."This was created in 1997 to establish rigorous
>controls for high-use industrial enterprises, which since
>then have been working outside of peak hours. Irrigation in
>the agricultural sector is likewise undertaken outside hours
>of high consumption," Puentes informed.
>The island's inhabitants remember with distress the long
>power cuts of the last decade, particularly in summer, when
>the energy demand is increased due to high temperatures and
>vacation periods, but in those years the country was only
>generating a tiny percentage of its needs.Puentes emphasized
>the importance of "developing a culture of saving in the
>population via the media and within the education
>system."The high price of crude on the international market,
>Puentes added, is another reason for saving, because the
>island produces very heavy oil and has to import diesel for
>other needs.
>He also commented that the quality of national crude imposes
>frequent and costly maintenance operations on the
>thermoelectric stations, meaning that the generating
>capacity falls and power cuts can result.Cuba pays for part
>of the oil produced by transnationals associated with
>drilling and extraction oil in the country, he noted and
>confirmed that "work is underway to ensure that electricity
>supplies are not lacking, while everything will be done to
>reduce consumption and extra measures will be taken during
>the summer period."In conclusion, he affirmed that studies
>are underway for the development of solar energy but this
>has proved very expensive to date.
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Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
Office: Phone (604) 291-4669
          Fax   (604) 291-5944
Home:   Phone (604) 689-9510 [NOTE CHANGE]

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