Business & Economy

Cuban media: High demand, blackouts causing fuel shortage

Havana, Mar 23 (EFE).- The scarcity of fuel in recent days in Havana and other Cuban municipalities is due to increased demand resulting from to electricity supply problems, state-run media on the communist island reported Wednesday.

In recent days, long lines of vehicles have been seen at gasoline stations in the Cuban capital and in nearby cities and towns after authorities last weekend announced that fuel would be rationed, a move that sparked concern among the public.

The daily Granma, citing a statement issues by the state-run fuel marketing company Cupet, said that the distribution of diesel fuel and gasoline to service stations “has been affected in recent days by, among other things, an increase in demand.”

The statement also linked the demand hike to the fact that the Antonio Guiteras thermoelectric power plant, the country’s largest such facility, was taken offline for several days due to an unexpected technical problem, and that resulted in greater usage of electric generator units, which run on diesel fuel.

Canal Habana, meanwhile, stressed that point on its Facebook page, referring to a “deficit in electricity generation starting with the exit of the Antonio Guiteras thermoelectric plant” from the electricity grid.

The plant, located in Matanzas province, went offline last Thursday and after a series of repairs and tests it once again began operating on Tuesday night.

The official Matanzas daily Giron reported on Sunday that fuel would be rationed in that province.

The daily also reported the statements of a regional official who alleged that a third of the tanker trucks owned and operated by Transcupet – the state-run fuel distribution company – were not operational.

The Cupet communique said that both it and Transcupet “are working to minimize the effects and maintain (fuel) supply to service stations.”

The firm said that it will continue to make “enormous efforts to guarantee regular supply” despite the world crisis, the sharp rise in oil prices, Cuba’s financial difficulties and the tightening of US sanctions.

Meanwhile, the Havana’s state-run regional daily Tribuna reported that the matter “has the attention of the top political and governmental authorities, both of the country and the capital.”

EFE jpm/laa/bp

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