EPM Confirms December 2021 Hidroituango Startup Target; September 2020 ‘CaribeMar’ Takeover
EPM general manager Álvaro Guillermo Rendón López confirmed in a televised May 7 address that the company continues to aim for a December 2021 startup of its US$5 billion, 2.4-gigawatt Hidroituango hydroelectric plant in Antioquia.
In his address, Rendón revealed that the Hidroituango project is now 77.8% complete, with COP$11 trillion (US$2.8 billion) already invested so far.
The first power turbines at Hidroituango would begin to generate electricity in December 2021 — provided that Colombia’s environmental licensing agency (Agencia Nacional de Licencias Ambientales, ANLA) gives timely approval, Rendón said.
Following that, EPM would start-up additional turbines every three or four months in 2022 and beyond, until the full 2.4-gigawatts output capacity is reached – again, assuming timely ANLA approvals.
Meanwhile, EPM’s recent acquisition of the “CaribeMar” power network in the Atlantic coast region will be ready for complete takeover and operational startup in September 2020, he said.
“In the period 2020 to 2023, we seek to modernize the organization and improve relations with our customers and users through continuous improvement in service, information technologies and the development of ‘smart’ cities,” Rendón said in his address covering highlights of EPM’s first 100 days of operations so far this year.
The acquisition of CaribeMar – adding 1.5 million more power customers in Bolívar, Cesar, Córdoba and Sucre departments — will increase EPM’s national distribution/commercialization market share to 35%, he noted. That makes EPM the biggest electric power player in all Colombia.
So far in 2020, EPM has completed 96% of its scheduled infrastructure projects (totaling COP$465 billion/US$118 million) to date, including entry-into-operation of new electrical infrastructure projects in Urabá and Medellín, plus upgrades at power plants, he said.
Meanwhile, over the next four years, EPM plans to invest another COP$7 trillion (US$1.8 billion) in infrastructure — and simultaneously find innovative ways to overcome potential effects of the Coronavirus crisis, he said.
Currently, EPM serves nearly 20 million people with power, water, sewage treatment, natural gas and waste management utilities through 44 subsidiary companies in six Latin American countries: Colombia, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama and Chile, Rendón noted.
“In 2019 we invested COP$3.2 trillion [US$816 million] in infrastructure and operating assets and distributed COP$10.4 trillion [US$2.65 billion] in value to stakeholders, which translates into more social investment, job creation and quality of life for more people,” Rendón said.
“The financial results obtained in 2019 allow transfers to the municipality of Medellín of COP$1.5 trillion [US$383 million] during 2020 — a year where the city faces effects caused by the Coronavirus pandemic,” he added.
In 2019, the EPM Group reported progress in universalization of public utility services in its Colombia markets, reaching 96.43% of its market-area homes with electric power; 85.84% with natural gas; 95.75% with potable water supply; 93.5% for wastewater removal; and 99.28% for solid waste disposal, he said.
Meanwhile, EPM continues to lead all Colombia — and even much of the developing world — with innovative programs to bring affordable public services to poorer people, Rendón noted.
“With innovative social solutions, the business group enabled access to energy and water under the ‘prepaid’ modality, for those who due to their income conditions find it difficult to access these services,” according to the first-100-days 2020 report.
“In 2019, 26,747 families began to enjoy prepaid energy in the EPM, CENS and ESSA companies, with a total of 317,618 clients and users since 2007. Last year, in the ‘Agua Prepago’ program, we added 2,834 new clients and users in Valle de Aburrá [metro Medellin], for a consolidated total of 25,211 clients and users since 2015.
“With ‘pay as you can’ [installments] program, in 2019 we had 40,297 new clients and users in EPM, CENS and ESSA divisions. Since 2014, when the program was launched, the beneficiaries have amounted to 209,437,” the company added.