Electric blackouts to end by mid-December or possibly sooner, Lasso says

Nov 9, 2023 | 0 comments

President Guillermo Lasso repeated his pledge Wednesday that electrical blackouts will end before Christmas. “We are evaluating the power situation and believe all rationing will end by mid-December and probably earlier,” he said. He said additional electricity is entering the power grid from Colombia, Peru as well as from a thermal generation plant in Esmeraldas. “My intention is to leave the presidency with this emergency under control,” he added.

The Ministry of Energy reports that recent rain has increased water levels at the Coca Codo Sinclair and at the Rio Paute complex hydro-generation reservoirs.

On Tuesday, Deputy Energy Minister Juan José Espinosa said that recent rains have increased power generation at the country’s largest hydro plants. “Our emergency condition is improving, not only with electricity coming from new sources but from our own hydro system as a result of increased rainfall in the last two weeks. We are still under drought conditions since the rainfall has been sporadic, but reservoir water levels have risen, especially at Coca Codo Sinclair and the Rio Paute complex.”

In an interview with Ecuavisa, Espinosa said that Ecuadorians are “responding positively” to the energy crisis. “Not considering the blackouts, households are reducing their usage, which we attribute to our public information campaign.”

He added: “As many customers have noticed, many of the scheduled power outages are not occurring but we need to maintain the schedule since they could be necessary in coming days.”

According to the Energy Ministry, 400 megawatts are now entering the electric grid daily from Colombia with another 40 coming from Peru. In addition, the diesel-fired Termo Esmeraldas facility began supplying 125 mw on Saturday with another 45 coming from smaller thermal facilities. The ministry is evaluating three bids from private companies to generate another 300 mw in December.

Espinosa said the cost of diesel and gas generation costs an average of 700% to 800% more than hydro generation. “It is a short-term solution, but the emergency has taught us that we must of this capacity in reserve.”

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