Medellín, Colombia — (METERING.COM) — October 13, 2008 – More than 42,000 residents of Colombia’s Antioquia department are due to receive metered electric connections over the next three years under a new project launched by the public utility Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM) in conjunction with the national, departmental and municipal governments.
With an investment of Co$214 billion (US$92 million) the project “Antioquia Illuminated” (Antioquia Iluminada) is set to benefit some 210,000 rural dwellers across the department. It will increase the coverage of electricity from 80 percent currently up to almost 95 percent by the end of 2011.
Based on estimates made earlier in the year, there were approximately 60,000 rural dwellings without electricity, in particular in the subregions of Bajo Cauco, Urabá, Nordeste and Magdalena Medio. Of these at least 42,000 will be supplied with metered electricity, with 14,000 to receive the service during the first year through extension of the local distribution system. The remaining 28,000 will be electrified in 2010 to 2011, either through further extension of the distribution system or with alternative sustainable sources of electricity supply.
In announcing the project Federico Restrepo Posada, CEO of EPM, commented that the first electricity came to Antioquia 110 years ago in 1898 and that just as municipal and other officials gathered then to switch on the first light bulbs, they were gathered again now to illuminate Antioquia. “Good history is repeating itself. Medellín was the third city in the country to be illuminated and now Antioquia will be the fourth department to provide electrification to its population on such a large scale.”
The project, which will also result in a uniform tariff across Antioquia, forms part of a larger Co$380.5 billion (US$164 million) project in the department to improve the quality of service, to meet demand growth and to develop a substation modernization program, among other actions.
“With this project we are taking a major step in the quest for development and consequently, for the wellbeing of our communities,” said Restrepo Posada.
EPM provides energy, water, sanitation and telecommunication services to 1.63 million customers in 123 municipalities. Medellín, Colombia’s second largest city, is the capital of Antioquia.