Without the social sector, President Abinader goes ahead and signs Electricity Pact

President Luis Abinader signed the Electricity Pact with the backing of big business and the political parties in a ceremony on Thursday, 25 February 2021 at the Presidential Palace. Representatives of the social sector did not sign. The agreement had been called for in the National Development Strategy Law 1-12.

President Luis Abinader argued that even he was not in agreement with several points but that it was the possible one. President Abinader announced the National Pact for the Electricity Sector Reform seeks to provide a more stable, efficient and lower cost service.

He said the electricity sector today runs in deficit and is responsible for 50% of the public sector debt. The President explained that in the 2021 National Budget RD$58 billion is allocated to cover the deficit. He said the biggest drain of resources happens through the state-owned power distribution companies (EdeNorte, EdeSur and EdeEste).

He said that many issues that were objected in the past are being tackled by the present government. He mentioned the liquidation of the Public Electricity Corporation (CDEEE), the downsizing of the costly boards of directors, and carrying out audits of the EDEs and an external audit of the Punta Catalina thermoelectric central built during the past administration.

At the event, President Luis Abinader announced the forthcoming bidding of a central with capacity for 800 megawatts of natural gas and storage tanks in Manzanillo, Montecristi, on the north coast of the country. At present, natural gas storage facilities are on the south coast.

During the event, Energy and Mines Minister Antonio Almonte emphasized that with this pact, the government promotes transparency and confronts corruption by strengthening the institutional framework of the enegy market and the system in general.

In addition, to achieve the financial sustainability of the sector, eliminate cost overruns and distortions, promote the expansion of renewable sources, and minimize environmental pollution. It also seeks to introduce technological innovations in the generation, transmission, distribution and commercialization of electricity.

The president of the Economic and Social Council Rafael Toribio said the signing of the pact does not mean that pending issues are forgotten.

During the event, Energy Minister Antonio Almonte spoke of the benefits of the Electricity Pact will bring. He mentioned advances in environmental matters, better regulation and tariffs, that will contribute to make the electricity service more competitive.

Almonte announced the government is preparing to sign 10 contracts for the purchase of clean energy. He announced 10 new renewable energy projects, basically solar and wind, are in the pipeline. These will add another 1,100 MW to the national electricity grid.

Participating in the signing were Vice President of the Republic, Raquel Peña; the Ministers of the Presidency and Administration of the Presidency, Lisandro Macarrulla and José Ignacio Paliza; of Energy and Mines, Antonio Almonte; the president of the Economic and Social Council (CES), Rafael Toribio, as well as the executive director of the Electricity Cabinet, Celso Marranzini.

The event was attended by businessmen Pedro Brache, president of the National Council of Business (Conep); Frank Rainieri, president of the Punta Cana Group and Celso Juan Marranzini, president of the Association of Industries of the Dominican Republic (AIRD).

Also, present was the president of the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD), Miguel Vargas Maldonado; the former head of the CDEEE, Rubén Jiménez Bichara signed for the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD). Senator for the province of La Vega, Ramón Rogelio Genao signed for the Social Christian Reformist Party (PRSC), and Juan Gómez signed for the People’s Force (FP).

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Listin Diario

25 February 2021