Cuba Politics

Cuba calls for major electricity reductions, why?

Posted May 26, 2009 by publisher in Cuba Politics.

By ANDREA RODRIGUEZ | Associated Press

(original title:Cuba sounds summer energy alarm, plans blackouts)

Cubans are in for an especially hot summer under an energy saving plan that could shut off air conditioners at work and require Saturday-morning blackouts at home, according to an unpublished government directive obtained by The Associated Press.

The plan, signed by new Economics Minister Marino Murillo and circulating Tuesday among government offices and state companies, also calls for large-scale vacations for government workers. The measures are necessary, it says, to conserve petroleum used to generate electricity during the Caribbean nation’s sweltering summer months.

The directive says the government is alarmed by unexpected increases in petroleum use this year and the “exceptional measures” will take effect Monday. It says 40,000 extra metric tons of petroleum were used during the first three months of the year to cover an unplanned 3 percent increase in electricity over what was projected for that period.

Residential electrical use can often triple in the summer because of fans and air conditioners.

The island produces about half its oil and receives the rest from Venezuela on highly preferential terms. Most of Cuba’s electricity is generated by crude.

Conservation plans will be prescribed for each province, and every government department must file a daily report on electrical use.

The directive says blackouts should not be scheduled during regular cooking times, to minimize the impact on homes. In addition to disconnecting air conditioners at workplaces, lighting at some businesses will be shut off.

Official Cuban media in recent days have called for workers to labor harder and not waste petroleum and other resources.

Member Comments

On May 26, 2009, publisher wrote:

Okay so the source is an “unpublished government directive” being circulating in the Cuban government and it sounds like typical lies and distortions.

I think a simple question cuts through the crap:

Why does an “unplanned 3 percent increase in electricity” require the Cuban government to plan for blackouts, government worker vacations and lights and air conditioners to be turned off in government buildings?

Hmmm. Since Cuba produces half the oil they need for electricity then get the rest for cheap money from Venezuela, one has to wonder what else is going on here.

Why does Raul want to cut back on electricity?

Those darned Cuban government employees. If they would just work harder for less pay and subsidies, Cuba would be utopia.

I’m surprise the US is not to blame for these upcoming blackouts.

We all know Raul and Fidel and the Communist system are perfect, it’s the workers and the US that are the problems in Cuba.

On May 26, 2009, publisher wrote:


Here’s why:

By Nelson Acosta | Reuters

Cuba is facing a “very hard” economic blow in 2009 as depressed nickel prices and reduced tourism revenue could slash foreign income by $1 billion, Cuba’s top economic commentator said on Tuesday.

The Cuban government was already reducing imports and limiting production in some industries in response to a growing cash crunch, Ariel Terrero said on state-run television.

Nickel and tourism are two of Cuba’s top sources of foreign exchange.

Terrero said prices for nickel had averaged $11,000 per tonne so far in 2009, down from $21,000 per tonne last year, and if they continued at current levels, would cut the island’s nickel income for the year by $720 million.

He added that tourism visits had increased in the first quarter, but revenue had fallen 13.7 percent, which over the year would result in a drop in income of $300 million from 2008.

“We are talking about losses that could be $1 billion in a country that brings in about $4 billion for exports (a year),” Terrero said.

“The blow will be very hard,” he went on. “The country has at its disposal today less resources. It has available hundreds of millions (of dollars) less and that is affecting the capacity for growth in the Cuban economy.”

Terrero’s comments were the latest public admission by Cuban economic experts that the communist-ruled island was feeling a heavy squeeze from the global economic downturn.

The head of Cimex, one of Cuba’s largest business corporations, acknowledged last week that payments for some goods were being delayed because of a liquidity shortage provoked by, among other things, the global financial crisis and three damaging hurricanes that struck last year.

Foreign businesses have been complaining about slow payments and inability to transfer cash abroad, while Cuban banks have warned they are short of hard currency.

Cuba’s state-run press has been calling for a reduction in energy use and has warned that blackouts may begin soon to save money.

The government initially had forecast 6 percent economic growth in 2009, but this weekend Economy and Planning Minister Marino Murillo said the forecast had been reduced to slightly more than 2 percent.

Terrero said effects of the slowdown were already being felt.

“Imports are being reduced, production is being limited in selected industries such as light industry,” Terrero said.

“And now we’re seeing some instability of supplies in foreign currency stores,” he said.


Hey, nothing wrong with 2% growth… unless of course it’s all play money and Cuba’s “economy” is really just a house of cards. Nah, that’s can’t be it.

On May 26, 2009, grant wrote:

No layoffs in Cuba, incomes stay the same thus they continue to use electricity not so in USA, Canada etc. That is the reason.

On May 27, 2009, grant wrote:

Industrial production has decreased in most countries due to the economic disaster of 2008/09 with major layoffs and shutdowns but not in Cuba, in fact, nickel production has increased BUT with a lower sale price on world markets.Thus Cubans have money to spend and electricical consumption will go up without a volunteer reduction of usage. Q.E.D.

On May 27, 2009, pipefitter wrote:

Canada anounced 50 Billion deficit, U.S. how many trillion?

On May 27, 2009, Yeyo wrote:

Why would you lay off the slaves working for $ 10 or $ 20 a month?

So, now the people in Canada and the US are not using electricity?

Industrial production has decreased in Canada and the US and yes lot of people had been laid off but most of them are in a very good system called unemployment insurance, something that unfortunately Cubans do not have.

Grant, the electricity consumption had gone up not because Cubans have money (btw with saying that you just show you’re completely ignorance about every day Cubans life) but because in previous years the consumption was much lower due to the economic crisis and the blackouts. Lately the government was getting a transfusion of cheap or free oil from Venezuela and temporarily eliminated the blackouts authorized the sale of some electrical appliances and so on. Now even Venezuela is filling the pressure and I presume they are looking for some payment.

Now if you guys can read nicely the news the economy is not in better shape but actually much worse than before and believe me it was never in good shape since the 60s.

By the way Pipefitter what do you feel is better 50 billions in deficit that is actually around 3% of the Canadian GDP or Cuba owing over 20 times the GDP and now signs that they would be able to pay in the next 200 years?

On May 28, 2009, grant wrote:

Venezuela sends 100,000 bbls a day to Cuba in exchange for the 30,000 etc.  cuban medical personnel working in Venezuela. No cash deal. But Cuba sells 50,000 bbls a day on the world market and wants to sell more to make up for the lower prices it receives for its’ products(Ni for example) Thus to buy more food products as the well beings of the population is of prime concern.

As their have been no layoffs in Cuba as in the USA and Canada, cubans continue to have money to spend and p.s. they do have unemployment assistance in Cuba and welfare etc. Please leave the emotional outbursts behind and at least try to be logical!

On May 28, 2009, grant wrote:

I have donated 4 power tools and computers to the united church(pastors for peace) to be taken to Cuba, too bad they are high energy consumption(all chinese made)

On May 28, 2009, Yeyo wrote:

No matter how much you love Castro, the cruel reality is other.

Can you pls enlighten us about the welfare and unemployment system in Cuba, because I live few decades there and never learn about it?

To say that Cubans have money to spend is simply a cruel satire of the reality that average Cubans are suffering daily.

How can you say that Cubans have money when their average salary is $ 15.00 per month? Have you ever tried to live with $15.00? You should and later tell us about the experience.

On May 30, 2009, grant wrote:

Look up details on government web pages on government assistance programs. The average salary is 300 pesos not dollars, average electric bill 10 pesos a month? ??. Everything is relative in any country.  Do not try to confuse the readers with false comparisions between different wage scales and prices.

On May 30, 2009, Yeyo wrote:

The only one confusing the readers is you with your brainwashed lies.
I was born, raised, attended University and worked in Cuba for over three decades, nobody can come and BS me with ...”Look up details on government web pages on government assistance programs”.

It is funny that in Cuba where over 95% of the population do not have acces to internet, the goverment would take time to create a web site to post assistance programs. .....Or maybe they were not created for the Cubans but to brainwash the always believing Castro Dictatorship friendly foreigners.

Even if such program exists, which i doubt it very much, it does not work. Now if really want to see if this program exist and work you cannot stay with your Cuban Minister friend but you have to go to the marginalized neighborhoods and see the thousands of Cubans that do not have work or the thousands and thousands of seniors struggling every day to put something in their mouth.

The average salary is much lower, 300 pesos is the average anounced by the goverment, but even when that is the average amount, if you consider the official exchange, we are talking of roughly USD 12.00, wow!!

The average electric bill is 10 pesos?? Another figure divulged by the government, well my brother pays in excess to 120 pesos a month and everybody that I knows pays over 100 pesos. 

Just to give the readers an idea of the cost of the live in Cuba, the cost of a liter of the cheapest cooking oil is roughly USD 2.40. Here in Canada the same cooking oil is like CAD 1.50.

False comparisons?

On May 30, 2009, pipefitter wrote:

30 eggs-2.00 Pesos or .10 US, lunch for a worker at the comedor- 20.00 Pesos or 1.00 US per month, lunch at school for a child 6.00 Pesos or 0.30 US per month, 100 bus rides 33.00 pesos or 1.65 US (under 12 yrs free), electricity- average 40.00 Pesos per mo. or 2.00 US, telephone -20.00 Pesos per mo. rent- no more than 10% of salary by law, ajo- 2.50 Pesos /lb or 0.125 US, tomates- 3.00 Pesos/lb or 0.15 US, col-3.00 Pesos/lb or 0.15 US, malanga- 5.00 Pesos/ lb or 0.25 US, boniato- 1.50 Pesos/lb or 0.08 US. etc. etc. etc.

On May 30, 2009, pipefitter wrote:

Yeyo, look up Ministerio de trabajo y seguridad social.

On May 31, 2009, Yeyo wrote:

What about the cost of meat, pork, chicken, cooking oil, cheese, soap, deodorant, shampoo, clothing, electronics, gas, cell phones etc? some of the prices you mentioned are as per the rationing card and are mostly not available in the bodega therefore they do not count. The actual prices are the free agricultural market. Where I lived in Havana nobody pay less than 80 pesos per month in electricity. The landline telephones are 20 pesos and what about the long distance charges? USD 2.50 per minute to US or Canada.

I already checked with the Ministerio del Trabajo but here in Canada and guess what, the Seniors get a minimun retirement of CAD 1, 200.00 per month, all the worker have unemployment insurance and if for any reaso you do not qualify for unemployment you can get CAD 520 of welfare per month. But I’m sure you also know that because you talk so much about the niceties in Cuba but live here.

If it is so good there what are you doing here?
Oh, I get it you are one of those that want to destroy the Capitalism from inside.

On May 31, 2009, Chuck Bailey wrote:

If I remember right Castro sold a bunch of rice cookers and small refridgerators to the general public, as the old models were using to much electricity.
They now are generating electricity on portable emergency units ( about 4,500 ) this takes a lot of off site fuel, that probably accounts for the unexpected 3% rise in fuel.
Chuck da Plumber grin)

On June 01, 2009, Yeyo wrote:

I understand that part of or the whole problem is that Venezuela have indicated their intentions to raise the price of the subsidised oil and or reduce the amounts supplied.

Coincidently, I learn from a friend that that Chavez got very angry when Perez Roque and Lage were removed from their positions.

The whole crisis was created in three days, prior to that nobody had said anything about the consumption and suddenly Soberon was the one that drop the news, why would that news come from the Central Bank when is related to Electricity Consumption? Also 3% above the estimates? What is the big deal? It is 3%, not 30%.

Maybe coincidences but sound like to many coincidences.