Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Good and the Bad

The Good and the Bad / Fernando Damaso
Fernando Damaso, Translator: mlk

The recovery of the electrical system in the eastern provinces,
destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, has been the subject of headlines,
articles and commentaries in the various governmental media outlets,
pondering the arduous and magnificent work of the Union Electric
personnel participating in it. It issomething fair and that must be
done, now that they deserve everyone's appreciation, independently of
the accompanying fanfare and of the official flags of the contingents,
as if they were setting off to war, but all that must be understood as
excesses of our tropical socialism.

If Union Electric is capable of working this way in extreme situations,
why not do it in a similar way three-hundred-sixty-five days a year? No
one escapes from the continuous outages of ten and more hours, the
surprise service interruptions because of pruning (in reality
destruction) of trees, maintenance, repairs, changes of line poles,
etc., achieved with low productivity and at a slow pace, in any
geographical part of the country.

Nor from the rupture of domestic appliances by voltage surges that
destroy even the surge protectors. Add to this the poor information
offered to clients, limited to the well known: extended maintenance,
pruning, extensions, and repairs with no established deadlines. These
effects, which no one compensates, besides affecting the citizens in
their homes, also affect private businesses, causing sensitive losses. I
exclude the State because, when there are outages, their employees are
partying because of not having to work.

Sometimes it is tedious to compare with the past but, when the Cuban
Electric Company, subsidiary of ITT with Cuban shareholders, existed,
outages were unknown and rarely (except in situations of natural
disasters) did we hear about repairs, maintenance and tree trimming
because the electrical service was not suspended: apparently these jobs
were executed with hot lines.

It is true that the service then did not cover the whole country, but it
was in constant development and, without doubt, would have managed it
with the passage of the years. The blame for existing problems will be
placed, as always, on the blockade (embargo), but in reality it is a
problem of organization and stimulation of labor. The difference between
an extreme situation and the usual one demonstrates it: it is not the
same to work ten or fifteen days at full speed with all the resources
and motivated, as it is to do it 365 days a year, without motivation,
with miserable salaries and lacking the necessary means.

Translated by mlk

November 22 2012

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