Blackouts will not resume until at least January 15 as government proposes new energy measures

Dec 30, 2023 | 0 comments

Energy Minister Andrea Arrobo announced Friday that electric power blackouts have been suspended until January 15 and could be extended further depending on weather conditions. Previously, the Ministry had planned to resume blackouts on January 2.

The Energy Ministry announced Friday that electric blackouts have been suspended to at least January 15.

Arrobo said recent rainfall in the inter-mountain valley and the Eastern slope of the Andes prompted the change of schedule. “We are all relieved by the rain and hope for more,” she said. “The showers have restored the river flow of the Rio Paute in the south of the country, increasing power generation at the three hydro facilities located there, which provide most of the country’s power.”

During her press conference, the Energy Minister also said the government expects fast action on legislation it sent to the National Assembly to improve the country’s electricity generation capacity.

Arrobo cautioned that the drought may not be over. “We will remain in the dry period until March, and it is likely that drier conditions will resume in the short-term,” she said. “El Nino complicates the forecast, unfortunately, and could extend dry weather in the sierra into April or May. All of this makes it more important than ever that we strengthen our electricity generation capacity to be prepared for future events.”

She said that a reduction of energy use by Ecuadorians was another factor in suspending power rationing until mid-January. “People are responding to our call for conservation. We have experienced a 4% to 5% reduction in usage since early December and we urge the public to continue the savings.”

The proposed energy bill currently before the National Assembly will create an Energy Efficiency Fund, which will be financed by public and private sources and will include new agreements with Colombia and Peru to form a common power grid, according to Arrobo.

“We have seen the results of neglect in the current circumstances and our goal is to find a variety of sustainable remedies,” she said. “We will invest in wind and solar generation projects but will also develop new thermal capacity for situations like the one we are experiencing today.”

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