Panama: Ownership of Hydroelectric Plant Still In Dispute

The project in question is reaching 97% completion but it is still unclear how the dispute over its ownership between the original and new concession holder (Mexican born Carlos Slim) will be resolved.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

According to Wilfredo Jordán writing for Prensa.com, "after almost five years the company Ideal Panama, owned by Carlos Slim, has finally completed the "Bajo de la Mina" (literally "under the mine") hydroelectric project. The plant will have installed capacity to produce 56.8 megawatts.

The civil and electromechanical works are 97% finished at an estimated cost of $170 million but there is uncertainty surrounding when the plant will become operational since in February Panama's supreme court ruled that the decision taken in 2007 by the Panamanian Public Services Authority (ASEP) to grant Ideal Panama permission to generate energy was illegal.

ASEP stated that it has respected the court's decision but is unsure in practice how to implement the ruling. While the company that brought the case, La Mina Hidro-Power, possesses the right to generate energy at the site, Ideal Panama owns the structures.

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