Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cuba lifts ban on energy-hogging appliances

Posted on Tuesday, 05.21.13

Cuba lifts ban on energy-hogging appliances
The Associated Press

HAVANA -- Cuba has authorized individual imports of appliances such as
air conditioners, refrigerators and microwave ovens, lifting a ban
imposed in 2005 amid a wave of energy shortages and blackouts.

Islanders can now bring up to two such appliances per person into the
country for noncommercial purposes, according to a law enacted with its
publication Monday in the Official Gazette.

The list of approved items includes air conditioners with a capacity of
less than 1 ton, ovens that consume less than 1,500 watts and microwaves
under 2,000 watts.

It also covers things including water heaters, toasters and irons.

Personal importation of energy-sucking appliances was restricted eight
years ago during an energy crisis that prompted then-President Fidel
Castro to launch the so-called Energy Revolution, seeking to lower

Castro went on state TV to promote more efficient rice steamers and
pressure cookers, government workers fanned out across the island
replacing incandescent light bulbs in homes and the country's creaky
electrical grid also got an update.

Blackouts are much rarer today, thanks in part to a steady flow of oil
on preferential terms from close ally Venezuela.

In 2011, Cuba resumed local sales of domestic appliances in response to
demand and to support private small businesses launched under current
President Raul Castro's economic reforms.

Authorities have continued to stress the importance of conservation to
keep Cuba's power grid from being overtaxed.


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