Law Threatens Stability of the Electricity Sector

Empresa de Transmision Electrica de Panama warns that Bill 342, which was approved in the first debate in the Assembly, threatens the stability of the local electric sector by delaying and making it impossible for electric projects to enter into operation due to the lack of transmission lines.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

In note No. ETE-DAL-029-2021, sent to the Committee of Commerce and Economic Affairs of the National Assembly of Deputies, ETESA's manager, Carlos Mosquera Castillo, warned the parliamentarians about the inconveniences of Bill 342 - recently approved in first debate - which repeals an article of the sole text of Law 6 of 1997, regarding the procedure for the use and acquisition of easements, explains an official statement.

The document emphasizes that "... in his letter, the manager of Empresa de Transmision Electrica, S.A. pointed out that if the objective of Bill 342 were fulfilled, ETESA would not comply with the Expansion Plan of the National Interconnection System (PESIN), endangering the stability of the Panamanian electric sector by delaying and making it impossible to start operating electric projects due to the lack of transmission lines, as well as delaying the development of projects of national interest, incurring in exorbitant expenses and the consequent increase of the national budget."

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According to Mosquera, in "... article 50 of the National Constitution it is clearly established that private interest must always yield to public interest. In the current regulation for the provision of the public electricity service, the parameters and procedures for the use and acquisition of easements are established, so we do not consider it correct to allude that private individuals have been or are being unduly dispossessed of their properties."

If this project is approved, it would leave in a legal limbo the summary procedures for the establishment of easements, which are currently being heard before the ASEP, since all the projects developed by ETESA are of public utility, explained ETESA's director.

Among the projects of the National Interconnected System Expansion Plan that would be directly affected by the approval of Bill 342 are: The Panama-Colombia Electrical Interconnection, the Sabanitas-Panama III Transmission Line, the Fourth Electrical Transmission Line, the Mata de Nance-Frontera Line, the Veladero-Panama Transmission Line, the Panama II-Chepo Line and several expansion and repowering projects throughout the country, which together add up to more than $1 billion in investment.

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