No holiday blackouts planned while future blackouts are under review; National Assembly leadership takes shape; Noboa plans Dec. 1 inauguration

Nov 1, 2023 | 0 comments

There will be no electric blackouts for the four-day holiday weekend, November 2 to 5, Deputy Minister of Electricity Juan José Espinosa said Tuesday. He added that the ministry is also evaluating the need for future blackouts.

“We want Ecuadorians to enjoy themselves at the festivals this week without worrying about power outages,” he said, adding that recent rains and new power transmissions from Colombia have made the emergency more manageable.

The Energy Ministry is reviewing plans for future electrical blackouts following increased transmissions from Colombia and a rise in water levels at the country’s largest hydrogeneration plants.

Espinosa cautioned that the drought is not over and that flow levels at the country’s two largest hydro-generations plants at Mazar-Paute and Coca Coda remain below optimal levels. “The electricity crisis continues but the good news is that water levels have risen as a result of recent rains and generation capacity has increased.”

He added that future blackout schedules and durations are being reviewed based on new developments. On Monday and Tuesday, most blackouts were for periods of 60 to 90 minutes, he said.

Espinosa said long-range plans to alleviate the shortage continue and said the ministry has accepted three bids from private contractors to install thermal electric plants. “These facilities will produce 300 to 350 megawatts of power and can go online within a matter of weeks,” he said.

National Assembly leadership takes shape
Henry Kronfle of the center-right Social Christian Party will be the new National Assembly president, according to an agreement reached over the weekend by three political blocs. The selection of Kronfle, which must be formalized once the full Assembly is seated this month, has the backing of President-elect Daniel Noboa.

Kronfle, whose 2021 attempt at the Assembly presidency failed when President Guillermo Lasso backed out of an agreement with the Social Christians and threw his support to Pachakutik’s Guadalupe Llori. According to Kronfle, Lasso decision was a “fatal error” that led to two years of gridlock in the Assembly and eventually the cross death decree.

The agreement between the Social Christians, Naboa’s National Democratic Action and Citizens Revolution parties, assures Kronfle of 80 votes, more than enough to win the presidency.

Representatives of the three parties have pledged to work together to avoid the conflicts of the Assembly disbanded by the cross death. “Although the term will only be 18 months, I believe you will see a very different National Assembly that takes its seats in a few weeks,” said Citizens Revolution leader Pierina Correa. “We are dedicated to working together for the benefit of all Ecuadorians.”

Noboa plans for December 1 inauguration
Although the National Electoral Council has not made it official, President-elect Daniel Noboa’s said Monday he expects to be sworn in as president on December 1. “The National Assembly will be in session by then and we see no obstacles that would change the date,” Noboa said.

The president-elect said he and his transition team have been meeting with Assembly leaders as well as representatives of the private sector. “We are including all the key players of official and social society in our discussions in formulating our plans for the next year and a half,” he said.

Members of the transition team include future cabinet members Gabriela Sommerfeld and Iván Carmigniani and presidential legal advisor Mónica Palencia.

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