Cuba says no short-term fix for blackouts

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Cuba says no short-term fix for blackouts

Marc Frank  Reuters

HAVANA, July 19 (Reuters) - Cash-strapped Cuba delivered the bad news to residents Monday evening that there was no end in sight to blackouts disrupting their lives and the economy.

Power outages were a major cause of widespread social unrest a year ago and have continued to plague the island in recent months even as the protest movement mostly died out.

The operating reserves that we have in the electrical system are insufficient to cover the demand, making effects on service inevitable, Energy and Mining Minister Livan Arronte Cruz said during a discussion of the power grid on state-run television Monday evening.

The minister said breakdowns of Cubas largely obsolete 20 power plants, where maintenance has been postponed for lack of funds, had combined with fires this year at two generators to dash hopes of ending outages over the hot summer months and perhaps into next year.

Arronte said higher fuel prices had the effect of straining resources and only a minor role in the blackouts, mainly interrupting back-up generators.


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