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World Briefing / Cuba

Island is ordered to cut energy use

November 12, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Cuba has ordered all state enterprises to adopt "extreme measures" to cut energy use through the end of the year in hopes of avoiding the dreaded blackouts that plagued the country after the 1991 collapse of its then-leading ally, the Soviet Union.

Government officials have been warned that the island is facing a "critical" energy shortage that requires the closing of nonessential factories and workshops and the shutting down of air conditioners and refrigerators not needed to preserve food and medicine, according to Reuters.

Cuba has cut government spending and slashed imports after being hit hard by the global financial crisis and the cost of recovering from three hurricanes that struck last year.

President Raul Castro is said to be intent on not repeating the experience of the 1990s, when the demise of the Soviet Union and the loss of its steady oil supply caused frequent electricity blackouts and hardship for the Cuban public.

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