Quito, Oct 27 (EFE).- Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso will travel to Bogotá on Saturday to urgently ask his Colombian counterpart Gustavo Petro to allow electricity to be supplied to the Ecuadorian network, affected by blackouts since this Friday due to energy shortages.
The president of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, speaks after receiving “The Sun of Peru”order from the president of Peru, Dina Boluarte, at the Government Palace, in Lima, Peru, on Oct. 25, 2023. EFE FILE/Paolo Aguilar
In a message published on social media, Lasso said he will seek Petro’s support to resolve Ecuador’s energy crisis, caused mainly by the drought of the rivers of the Amazon, where the main hydroelectric plants in Ecuador are located, which are the source of the most of the electricity produced by the Andean country.
“At different times, our country has sold electricity to Colombia to support the supply of its internal demand and we believe that this time there will be reciprocity with Ecuador. I am sure I will bring good news,” Lasso wrote.
Until a few weeks ago, Colombia was supplying electricity to Ecuador, but currently it is not doing so because it is focusing all its production on domestic demand, according to Ecuadorian electricity sector authorities on Thursday in a press conference.
On Oct. 5 there were blackouts in several areas of the country due to a sudden cessation of the electricity supply from Colombia, as a result of maintenance tasks on its electrical network.
However, the generation of Ecuador’s hydroelectric plants has worsened in recent weeks and the government announced on Thursday the beginning of a period of electricity rationing, with cuts in sectors of up to three and four hours.
Ecuadorian authorities say this could last until mid-December if the situation in the reservoirs of the Amazon region does not improve, especially in the Paute River basin, where the Paute, Mazar and Sopladora power plant complex is located, which together have the capacity to generate about 1,700 megawatts.
Until then, the government has launched an emergency tender to contract emerging energy sources for $160 million to cover a current deficit of about 460 megawatts, in addition to evaluating the import of natural gas and making efforts to recover a set of thermoelectric plants.
Energy rationing has not been experienced in Ecuador since 2009 and has raised protests from the productive sector and small merchants, the most affected since the power cuts occur between 7am and 18 pm local time.
In this context, Lasso will ask Colombia for help, since the electrical interconnection with Peru is still very limited and it is not expected that a high voltage line will exist until 2026, when connectivity at 500,000 volts will be built with financing that will be largely part of the Inter-American Development Bank and the European Investment Bank. EFE