Energy Minister reaches agreement with Colombia to continue power transfers at a lower cost

Dec 15, 2023 | 0 comments

The day before Ecuadorians face an extra hour of electric blackouts, Energy Minister Andrea Arrobo announced she has signed an agreement with Colombia to maintain the transfer of electricity to Ecuador at a reduced cost.

Ecuador Energy Minister Andrea Arrobo, right, met with Colombian Energy Minister Andrés Camacho Wednesday.

Saying she would provide full details when she returns to Quito, Arrobo said Thursday that confusion over verbal agreements reached last month between former president Guillermo Lasso and Colombian President Gustavo Petro have been resolved. “This is very good news and demonstrates the good will of Colombia toward Ecuador,” Arrobo said.

“Colombia is experiencing its own hydroelectric power deficit due to the El Niño phenomenon, but it is expanding its thermal generation capacity to fill its own needs as well as to help with ours,” she said.

Arrobo met with her Colombian counterpart Andrés Camacho for several hours Wednesday and Thursday. “There were many loose ends left from the presidential discussion in November and these were issues that Minister Camacho and I settled during my visit.”

Among the major issues that were resolved, Arrobo said, was the high cost Ecuador was paying for energy transfers. “We will announce the new kilowatt hour price soon but I can tell you it will be much lower than what we are currently paying.”

According to the Finance Ministry, Ecuador has paid $240 million for Colombian electricity in the last six weeks.

Former Minister of Energy Minister Fernando Santos acknowledged last week that he was mistaken in his understanding of the talks between Lasso and Petro. “Based on that, I trusted that Colombia would sell us energy at a convenient price, but that point was not discussed by the presidents. I miscalculated. It was human error based on miscommunication.” Santos added that he also miscalculated the amount of electricity Colombia would transfer.

Arrobo thanked Santos for his explanation and said that her agreement with Camacho is one that can be counted on. “We can move forward at this point and concentrate on increasing power generation in Ecuador,” she said. “We are working as quickly as possible to fix the contractual problems that have prevented us from reaching agreements with thermal electricity providers.”

The Energy Ministry announced Monday that power blackouts would increase from two to three hours a day beginning Friday.


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