WASHINGTON, December 13, 2023 – The World Bank approved today a new project in the Dominican Republic to help improve the electricity sector and cut the current high distribution losses. Through an investment of US$225 million, the project will assist distribution companies reduce the significant losses experienced in electricity distribution by rehabilitating the distribution network, upgrading the management technology, and reducing electricity outages. 813,000 consumers, urban and rural, from the residential and commercial sectors, are expected to benefit from these upgrades.
Losses experienced by the electricity sector in the Dominican Republic are caused mainly by old and overcharged power distribution lines, illegal connections, issues with meters and consumption estimates, and incorrect billing. These losses averaged US$1.2 billion per year during 2017-2021, corresponding to 1.4 percent of GDP. Substantial annual budget transfers to the distribution companies to cover these gaps weigh in the public expenditure. Reducing the need for these budget transfers will contribute to more resources for social programs and human development.
The Distribution Efficiency Improvement and Utility Strengthening Project will complement the Dominican government efforts to address this situation. The project will work with Edenorte, Edesur and Edeeste (EDE), the three state-owned companies that carry out almost all electricity distribution to homes and businesses in the country, to tackle these challenges by helping to upgrade the electricity infrastructure and modernize the EDE commercial processes, improving their financial sustainability.
“TThe Government of the Dominican Republic has taken decisive actions to start addressing the country’s decades-long challenges of the electricity sector” , said Alexandria Valerio, World Bank Representative for the Dominican Republic. “The World Bank will continue to support these efforts to achieve a less carbon-intensive and more reliable electricity, which is fundamental for the country’s productivity growth, poverty reduction, and people’s wellbeing.”
The project is expected to rehabilitate 1,342 kilometers of lines, regularize 225,826 clients who consume electricity but do not pay, replace deteriorated meters, install new ones, and improve the commercial and metering data management systems of the EDE. This will allow for better billing, collections, and increased revenues for the EDE, minimizing losses and reducing the dependence on the government’s subsidies. Alleviatiing over-charged transformers and upgrading aged infrastructure will require less electricity that would come from fossil fuel sources. This will contribute to reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of the country.
This project is the first of three investments from the World Bank to support the Dominican Government’s vision for the sustainable development of the electricity sector. This multiphase program for the Dominican Republic has an estimated financing envelope of US$505 million over ten years with the objective to improve access to a more reliable, efficient, and environmentally sustainable electricity supply for the entire population.
Learn more about the work of the World Bank in the Dominican Republic.
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