Late please!

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“The social value of criticism consists in preventing
errors and not in predicting disasters” Keynes

This expression is often used to mean the delay in acting and making decisions in time, with due opportunity. And that is happening to the Ministry of Mines and Energy with the current crisis in which the energy sector is mired. With due advance notice, 14 former Ministers of Mines and Energy sent an open letter to President Gustavo Petro on October 7 of the previous year, which was the bearer of an early warning about the risk of possible rationing of the energy service, at a time when that the El Niño phenomenon was already in development, which brings with it drought and extreme hydrology, with scarce rain that with its contribution feeds the reservoirs that serve the hydroelectric plants to generate energy. But we went further, based on our experience, we dared to recommend some measures that could help prevent and counteract its devastating effects.

We raised the convenience and opportunity of “the definition of price incentives to seek efficiencies in consumption via demand response programs” to promote savings in energy consumption through incentives for users, as had already been tested with success in 2015 when we had a threat of rationing as a result of the same El Niño phenomenon. The Government rejected this recommendation, refused to implement it and the result is visible. At times when saving is required, consumption overflowed, going, according to XM figures, from a growth of 5% to 7%, which is the record for the average of the first quarter of 2024. The demand of regulated consumers (that of households), for its part, grew even more, 12%.

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Only when El Niño entered its most intense phase was it decided to issue Presidential Directive 01 of April 1 addressed to the entities of the Executive Branch on “good practices for saving energy and water” in which it is urged to “ adjust work-from-home schemes for all plant personnel and contractors. Requests to make the most of natural lighting in the offices and turn off the lights when it is not necessary to keep them on.” Needless to say, this measure, in addition to being timid, is ineffective. It didn’t even occur to them to advance the working hours if what it was about was “making the most of natural lighting in the offices.”

After many comings and goings, twists and turns, they finally decided to publish for consultation the CREG draft resolution 701 039 of April 13, 6 months after our suggestion, through which “a temporary program of incentives for the efficient use of electrical energy is established.” We had also proposed incentivizing companies that have installed self-generation capacity so that they are encouraged to deliver their surpluses, injecting them into the national transmission system (STN). At this point the issuance of the respective Resolution is only being considered and meanwhile the hands of the clock do not stop. Precious time has already been lost for this.

The same can be said with respect to the incorporation of more thermal energy to replace water, something that has had to be brought forward since the last quarter of the previous year. Only now, on April 12, Minister Andrés Camacho issued Circular 40011, addressed to the National Dispatch Center (CND), instructing it so that the thermal generation park operates at its maximum capacity. But this occurs at times when it was already contributing 112 GWHD, contributing 48% of the energy generated (242 GWHD), when its maximum capacity is 120 GWHD. Once again the Minister is late and so on!

We also raise the urgency of the “proprietary appointment of CREG commissioners, with due technical solidity” and at this point, in the midst of such a crisis, despite the repeated request of the Attorney General’s Office and the express order of the contentious administrative court of Cundinamarca to that the 6 commissioned experts be appointed, “exclusively and for periods of 4 years”, for which a peremptory period of 30 days was set, this was disregarded and to date only 4 of the 6 have been appointed. They must integrate the CREG and of them only 2 owned. This, in my opinion, continues to be the Gordian knot of the current crisis in the sector, which only the Government can unleash.

And so we arrive at the current crossroads in which, as a result of the El Niño phenomenon, the low level of the reservoirs has seriously jeopardized the functioning and operability of the national interconnected system, becoming the trigger for the current crisis that can lead to feared blackout. This was precisely what led us to conclude our letter by telling the president that we had to “act now. It is in your hands to prevent the country from a costly and unnecessary risk of blackout.”

In fact, the latest XM report shows that the aggregate reservoir level was at 28.56%, just 0.93 percentage points from the 27.63% threshold. This is the turning point, of no return, which upon reaching it forces us to activate the Statute for situations at risk of energy shortages (Resolution 101 027 of 2023), leading us inexorably to energy rationing. The unpredictability and improvisation with which the management of this crisis has been approached has contributed to this.

Number Member of the ACCE

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The post ¡Tarde piache! appeared first on Minuto30.

2024-04-21 07:03:59

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