My First Day of Vacation, but No Electricity

By Daisy Valera

My first day of vacation in Sancti Spíritus was somewhat uncomfortable.

I arrived there by train at 5:00 a.m., and as I had been unable to sleep the whole night, I thought that I could do so from 6:00 a.m. until noon.

I went to bed and immediately fell into a deep sleep, until a neighbor woke me with her yelling.

A worker from the electric company had just cut off our electricity and was taking our meter.

When I asked him to explain the reason for what he was doing, he told me that the issue was very simple: for two months the light bill hadn’t been paid.

Naturally, I had no response to that, so I decided to find out more about what was happening.

What had occurred was that two months prior my mother had made a complaint at the electric company because the cost of electricity at our house had suddenly surged – it was now 300 pesos a month.

My mother is a doctor, but she earns only 700 pesos a month.  Though the 300 peso electric bill was almost half her salary, the electric company apparently felt that it was beneath them to send to anybody to investigate the problem.

Nevertheless, the problem only had one solution: to pay the 600 pesos that was owed.

Although this price was exceptionally high, since those of the previous months ranged between 180 and 200 pesos – a sum that was already not insignificant.

I asked my neighbors if they were experiencing the same problem, and they responded that their electric bill had risen too.

Many people place the blame this on the home appliances that were supplied to us as a consequence of the “Energy Revolution,” which has also eliminated blackouts almost completely.

However, if this situation of high bills is permanent, you can’t say that the problem of the electric service has been solved in Cuba.

There is a need to go into this issue even deeper.  It is imperative that discussions be organized in neighborhoods and workplaces, and that leaders report and on studies of this issue.  In this way solutions can be found to such problems that impact less on the daily lives of people.

Then we will be able to say that the Energy Revolution has had a much more positive impact on Cuban society.

Daisy Valera

Daisy Valera:Soil scientist and blogger. I write from Mexico City, where Havana sometimes becomes so small that it disappears. However in others, the Cuban capital is a city so past and present that it steals your breath.