Power blackouts could resume during dry season; Noboa vetoes local government funding bill; Former VP Glas continues prison hunger strike

Jun 7, 2024 | 0 comments

Electric power cuts could resume in July or August, the National Electricity Operator (Cenace) warned Tuesday. “Due to weather-related circumstances at the country’s electricity generation plants, it is possible that more scheduled outages will occur until February 2025,” Cenace said in statement. “As the dry season progresses, it is not possible to guarantee the continuous supply of electricity in the coming months despite the fact that current conditions are favorable.”

The statement continued: “Currently, the generation plants at the Mazar-Paute complex are operating at near-optimum levels due to reservoir conditions on the Paute River but we are concerned levels will decline during the dry season. We continue performing maintenance and cleaning operations at other generation facilities, including Coca Coda Sinclair, which require temporary service suspensions.”

The Coca Coda Sinclair hydroelectric plant on the Coca River, east of Quito.

Energy Minister Roberto Luque said last week that he is in negotiations with two private electric power providers about locating generation barges off the coast as well as upgrading existing diesel- and gas-powered plants in Machala, Guayaquil and Esmeraldas. He said he hopes to have signed agreements by July or early August but said it could be October or November before the new and upgraded plants are operational.

Noboa vetoes local government funding bill
President Daniel Noboa has vetoed legislation passed by the National Assembly that would change the way funding is disbursed to local governments. The law would have provided automatic monthly payments from the Central Bank to provincial and municipal governments. Currently, funds are disbursed through the Finance Ministry, on a schedule determined by the government.

In his explanation of the veto, Noboa said lack of funds in the national treasury prevent automatic disbursement. “Due to budgetary shortfalls, the proposed system would take money from security, health, education and other sectors, creating serious risks to economic stability. At this time, funds must be allocated in a responsible and orderly manner that prioritizes essential services provided by the general state budget,” the president’s statement said.

Under terms of the veto, the legislation, formerly called the Organic Law Amending Several Organic Laws to Ensure the Direct and Timely Allocation of Resources from Permanent and Non-Permanent Revenues to Decentralized Autonomous Governments, cannot be reconsidered by the National Assembly for a period of one year.

Former VP Glas continues prison hunger strike
Former vice president Jorge Glas continues his hunger strike at La Roca prison in Guayaquil. According to his attorney, Glas has only consumed water since he was returned to prison April 6. In addition, he receives a daily injection of pain medication for a spinal injury he suffered in 2022.

Attorney Vinicio Tapia said Glas has been offered food supplements and vitamins but has so far refused them. Vinicio says his request for an orthopedic mattress for Glas, has gone unanswered.

Glas was forcibly removed from the Mexican embassy in Quito, where he was seeking political asylum, on April 5. The police raid on the embassy and Glas’ extraction, resulted in the suspension of diplomatic relations between Ecuador and Mexico.

The former vice president had taken refuge in the embassy in December after he was ordered to return to prison to complete two six-year corruption sentences. Glas was released from prison last year by a judge who has since been arrested on charges of accepting bribes.

Inflation rises to 2.5% in May
Ecuador’s annual inflation rate in May closed at 2.53%, an increase of .56% over May 2023. The National Institute of Statistics and Census attributed the rise to the hike of the value added tax, which increased from 11% to 15% in April. Through the first five months of 2024, the country’s inflation rate is 2.18%.


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