The Minister of Energy and Mines (MEM), Antonio Almonte, presented to the Economic and Social Council the advances and institutional transformations that the electricity sector has undergone after the signing of the Electricity Pact, thus contributing to achieving a more stable, robust and lower cost.
During his extensive presentation, Minister Almonte stated that up to now they have complied with around 50% of the points agreed upon in the signing of the Pact, anticipating that at the end of the six years, foreseen for the implementation of the agreement, they will have complied with almost all the commitments and actions for the transformation of the national electrical system.
“The important thing in all this is that, as can be seen, there is good progress in the fulfillment of the commitments, but others are missing, and those that are missing are being worked on, because there are points of that agreement that require time. We have a horizon of six years of agreement and we still have four to go, which means that we are going at a good pace, ”he said.
He explained that the commitments of the agreement are distributed among all the State institutions linked to the electricity sector and that, in the case of the Ministry of Energy and Mines, it has fulfilled 16 of the 24 commitments that were assigned to it in the document signed on February 2021.
“There are many things that have been accomplished. It is possible that there has been a lack of explanation to society on our part, but there are many things that have been done and that are being fulfilled, and we have monitoring; In addition, we have delivered to CES the evidence of the things that we have achieved, ”he added.
He stressed that the current management, headed by President Luis Abinader, managed from its first quarter to supply 98% of the population’s demand for electricity, being one of the fulfilled points of the pact. “Before we came to the Government, we had 85 percent supply of demand and the remaining 15 percent was distributed in daily blackouts in different parts of the country.”
Among the points met, Almonte pointed out that they have achieved a large participation in the electrical system of more than 970 megawatts of renewable energy, which has diversified the generation matrix, producing energy at a lower price, and friendly to the environment.
He reiterated that 16 new clean energy projects are currently under construction, and will enter the system in the course of the year, whose energy will help the country reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels to guarantee energy security.
Regarding the institutional transformations to improve the electrical system, Almonte cited the elimination of the CDEEE, the creation of the Punta Catalina Generating Company and the transformation of the UERS, which is now a division of the MEM. These changes occurred based on Law no. 355-22, which provides for the suppression of the CDEEE.
Those transformations were made in less than two years. He also noted the issuance of Decree 158-23 on Energy Savings and Efficiency to modify the regulations of the Law of Incentives for Renewable Energies.
The minister also showed Congress a bill to update the legal framework of the Dominican electricity market.
Likewise, he expressed that one of the challenges that the Government has in electrical matters is to significantly reduce the deficit of the Electricity Distribution Companies (EDE), in which investments must be made in materials, meters, transformers and equipment to reduce electrical losses. and, consequently, raise the level of collection to consumers.
“Last year, there was a rise in fuel prices due to the war between Russia and Ukraine, and the EDEs bought energy from the most expensive generators, but the distributors did not transfer these increases to their customers (the population), that is, they sold energy at the same price that they bought from the generators; That caused him a deficit, ”Almonte said during his exhibition at the CES building, which was held in person and virtually.
The official stated that, although the Electricity Pact establishes a gradual increase in the electricity bill so that the EDEs can be self-sufficient, the Government stopped these increases to avoid inflation in the prices of the products and that this would not trigger a crisis.
He argued that the electrical system is immersed in the energy transition with renewable sources, and plans to place solar panels in State institutions, in order to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, which will translate into savings on the purchase of energy.
Minister Almonte was accompanied by vice ministers Alfonso Rodríguez and Rafael Gómez, and Freddy Lara, MEM adviser.
Also present were Rafael Toribio, president of the CES; Elisa Elena González, technical advisor, Julian Martínez, among other representatives of the labor, business and social sectors.