PRESS RELEASE

Dominican Republic: Voz Eléctrica Empowers Consumers to achieve more efficient electrical service

July 30, 2013



To respond to the ongoing energy crisis in the Dominican Republic, Corporación Dominicana de Empresas Eléctricas Estatales (CDEEE), eight civil society organizations with support  from the World Bank today launched a national pilot program called Voz Eléctrica (Electric Voice) to encourage broader citizen participation and increase accountability to improve the quality of electricity service.

The implementation of Voz Eléctrica enables each citizen to send real-time electricity service reports from any location in the country through various means, such as smart phone applications, text messages (SMS) from any mobile phone, e-mail, Facebook and Twitter, or by calling a phone number especially set up for this purpose, even during power outages.  The reports can be viewed on a map at the www.vozelectrica.org website and will be included on a list of reports in an entirely transparent manner.

On behalf of the Government, Ruben Jimenez Bichara, Executive Vice President of the CDEEE, welcomed the new initiative saying “Solving the electricity problems in the Dominican Republic requires the participation of all sectors. Voz Eléctrica seeks to hear openly from our consumers so that we can provide high quality services to them”.

New Approach

As an integral part of the Voz Eléctrica, civil society organizations (CSOs) have been trained to lead the management of the webpage and monitor the accuracy of information reported.  Meanwhile, the social management program staff of the CDEEE and three geographic groups such as EDENORTE, EDESUR and EDEESTE will use the reports to help the government to better respond to the needs of customers and provide more efficient service in communities such as Girasol and Los Mina in Santo Domingo, among others.

“Voz Eléctrica is a valuable tool and a step forward in terms of transparency in the electricity sector, since it allows having in a single platform to the voices of consumers, along with clarifications and answers from authorized institutions in this area. We will be able in this manner to monitor through the use of information technologies a service of utmost importance as the electricity service”, said Addys Then, Executive Director of Alianza ONG

To assess program outcomes, the pilot project will compare two areas of Santo Domingo; one of which was upgraded through the grid rehabilitation project of the CDEEE with World Bank financing.  Voz Eléctrica will also serve to test whether this type of tool helps to better understand the concerns of consumers and ensure a rapid response in the event of malfunctions in the system.

“The Voz Electrica pilot comes at the end of an important engagement by CDEEE and the World Bank to strengthen electricity distribution in several sectors of the country.  As such it not only allows us to hear Dominican voices on the quality of this engagement, but more importantly to build partnerships between a key public service provider like CDEEE and civil society organizations, so that Dominican citizens can contribute to improved quality in public services like electricity, ”said McDonald Benjamin, World Bank Country Representative for the Dominican Republic

The project is a partnership of the Corporación Dominicana de Empresas Eléctricas Estatales (CDEEE) and the World Bank, working with the civil society organizations affiliated with Alianza ONG, Centro Bonó, Centro Juan XXIII, Ciudad Alternativa, Comité para la Defensa de los Derechos Barriales, Foro Ciudadano, Participacion Ciudadana and Toy Jarto.  Voz Eléctrica will benefit from the experience of similar initiatives carried out in cities in the United States, such as San Francisco and Boston.  And will in turn contribute lessons for similar projects in other countries. The World Bank’s support was made possible thru a generous grant support from USAID  DfiD and other partners.

Projects financed by the World Bank in the Dominican Republic

The World Bank is currently financing six investment projects of the Dominican State in the amount of US$249 million, in the areas of health, social protection, water and sanitation, municipal development and two projects that support electricity transmission and distribution grid rehabilitation. Additionally, the World Bank provides technical assistance in various sectors prioritized in the National Development Strategy.

For more information on the Dominican Republic’s partnership with the World Bank, visit:

http://www.bancomundial.org.do 

For more information on the technological platform for this pilot visit VOZ ELECTRICA on the Web: www.vozelectrica.org

Click here to learn about the International Finance Corporation’s agreement with IEHhttp://ifcext.ifc.org/ifcext/pressroom/ifcpressroom.nsf/0/16F92157E0C970FD85257B190058A2FC?OpenDocument

Media Contacts
In Santo Domingo
Alejandra De La Paz
Tel : (809) 566-6815, Ext. 343
adelapaz@worldbank.org
In Washington D.C.
Stevan Jackson
Tel : (202) 458-5054
sjackson@worldbank.org