The Business Year

Luis Ernesto De León

General Manager, EDE Este

We estimate that by 2016, we should have invested around $270 million. YoY, from August 2012 to August 2013, we realized savings of $53 million, a marked record for the industry. As we complete the rehabilitation of networks, we will implement communication strategies at a neighborhood level to raise awareness of the need to be an efficient user of the electricity network and contribute to the cultural education of our clients in terms of energy efficiency. It is important to show consumers that the country does not gift electricity. Current state deficits in the sector reach around $2 billion. The continued rehabilitation of networks comes at a high cost of around $550 to $600 per person. In order to reach a balanced situation, we should rehabilitate and normalize around 60% of the entire tendered area, as our remit encompasses some of the poorest regions of the country. Our low-income customers face difficulties in settling their monthly electricity bills. We are currently working on the rehabilitation of nine large networks that reach as many as 70,000 clients, and this will improve the distribution of electrical energy as well as payment levels among our clients.

Pedro Almonte

President, Almonte

Innovation and entrepreneurship have been key elements in Grupo Almonte since our establishment. In fact, we introduced smart metering and sub-metering to the Dominican Republic, and built the first building under USGBC/LEED criteria (Edificio BANAS), in addition to the first Merchant Plant (Victoria I, 105 MW) for SENI. The high energy prices and problem of blackouts experienced in the country prompted us to develop our services in energy efficiency and management, aiming to help the competitiveness of our customers and saving millions of dollars in the long run. Besides conventional energy services, we are working on renewables and sustainable architecture by using site conditions to improve efficiency and reduce energy consumption. We are also attempting to improve the human dimension of the system, by ensuring that errors in reading and billing do not continue to contribute to energy expenses.

Rafael Zapata

General Administrator, Rafael Zapata

Our business activities are related to electrical energy production and technological integration. We have taken on the role of developer in one of the country’s strategic sectors, with a special focus on large-scale production projects. In this context, we have a concession in the Dominican Republic for a 50 MW solar plant that could legally be expanded to 100 MW. Our role is to ensure the construction and operation of such a project to the highest standards and quality levels. Rather than operate plants ourselves, we transfer the operation to specialists. The project is connected to the national network as part of the nationwide strategy to change the energy production matrix, and we have the Payment for Purchase Agreement (PPA) in place with the government. We have an investment budget of a little under $120 million. I personally think that there is no other country in the world with the features of the Dominican Republic, especially in terms of size and its position as an island with such strategic maritime and air infrastructure capacity.

Armando G. Rodrí­guez

Chief Executive Officer of Power, Seaboard Corporation

Seaboard has been operating in the Dominican electricity sector since 1990, but there is still much opportunity in the sector, not only in generation, but also in commercialization. We have invested $140 million in the electricity sector, as we know that the real figures for demand are high. After working here for 24 years, I can say that it functions as well as in the past; the bureaucratic process was manageable, and local contractors worked well, while there were no issues regarding the employment of external contractors. Having the backing of a public corporation, such as Seaboard, capable of funding us when needed, helps considerably. The timely collection of invoices for power generation is not the norm in the country, and companies typically collect every three or four months when arrears accumulate. We need to ensure that invoices are paid in a timely manner, and that investment in infrastructure improves the transmission and distribution of power.

André Bosman

Director, Wärtsilä Dominicana

The government allows independent producers to develop and select their own technologies, which automatically leads to a better range of technologies being available at national power plants. The drive to develop renewable energy projects also requires back-up options as the output of wind farms and solar plants is subject to constant fluctuation. It is imperative to have a steady frequency for industry, although of course there is always the risk of peaks and troughs in the system and the potential for blackouts. For this reason, I would argue that a decentralized power plant network on the islands is the optimum competitive solution for the required end result. When I began at Wärtsilä Dominicana, we had an installed capacity of 600 MW, but today the figure is at 1.4 GW. We hold approximately a 50% market share, and have the highest capacity utilization rate (CUR). We have introduced large, dependable diesel and gas engines that run continuously, the engines of which have been running for over 45 years. We have also constructed power plants all over the Caribbean in partnership with Dominican companies, which is a clear benefit for smaller contractors and companies.

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