Cape Verde seeks independent energy suppliers to end power outages

19 July 2006

Cidade da Praia, Cape Verde, 19 July – The Cape Verde government is attempting to attract energy companies to start up in the archipelago in a bid to end problems with electricity supply that have afflicted the country in recent months.

In a government communiqué, Prime Minister José Maria Neves said an alternative scenario to new power supply companies would be the acquiring of generating equipment by the state to replace the current Electra electricity and water utility, controlled by Portugal’s EDP and AdP groups.

“If there are not independent producers, the government will intervene and import equipment to ensure production of electricity in Praia. We have already made international contacts and we are selecting companies to buy or hire equipment from”, said Neves.

Praia’s priority, however, is to create conditions for independent power producers and the quickest reestablishment of reliable electricity and water supplies, said Neves, adding that it was “certain” that either the government or independent producers would guarantee electricity supply in the capital by the end of August.

Neves said he wanted EDP and AdP, which hold a 51 percent shareholding in Electra, to “leave Cape Verde as quickly as possible”, adding that the power concession contract could be revoked unilaterally by Praia.

But talks with Electra will continue from this month to definitively resolve the utilities difficulties so that Cape Verde is not hostage to the “incompetence and malfunctioning of the company”, said Neves.

“We are going to negotiate. The companies can leave and we will contract new partners. If there are no new partners, the state will take on its responsibilities”, said the Cape Verdean government chief.

On Monday, Neves met his Portuguese counterpart, José Sócrates, who reiterated his commitment to resolve the Electra deadlock, saying he would shortly send his minister of economy, Manuel Pinho, to Praia “to help find a solution to allow the company to make the necessary investment…so that the lives of Cape Verdeans are not affected.” (macauhub)

MACAUHUB FRENCH