April 21, 2014
Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Edenor power cuts double in 10 yrs

Although rates are similar to late 1990s, length of outages soar

Power cuts in the area operated by power company Edenor are becoming more frequent each year — and last for longer.

In the decade that followed the 2001 economic crisis, quality standards of the company worsened quickly, frequency of interruption increasing by 110 percent and each episode was 280 percent longer, a story by newspaper La Nación revealed yesterday. Yet the data also shows the standards are surprisingly similar to what was seen in the late 1990s.

In 2002, Edenor reported three interruptions for each kilovolt-ampere (kVa) installed. The tendency remained strong until 2008, when it increased to 4.1 — and then until 2012, when it jumped again in to 6.3 — still 53 percent more than 1996.

In 1996, there were 4.1 interruptions per installed kVa, a number that surged to 5.4 in 1997 and then again to 5.7 in 1999.

Yet the similarities end when it comes to the length of power outages, which have seen a steady increase. In 1996, each power outage lasted about 6.5 hours. In 2007, the mean outage lasted 6.6 hours and the situation only worsened in 2009 (8.8 hours), 2010 (10.6 hours), 2011 (11 hours) and 2012 (a whopping 17.15 hours).

Data from 2013 was not yet available, an Edenor spokesman said.

Information comes from the annual operation reports that Edenor regularly presents to the ENRE electricity watchdog.

Other companies such as Edesur (that operates in the southern part of the City and the rest of its suburbs) and Edelap (that runs power services in La Plata) do not make this information public.

Edenor has 2.7 million users in the City and the Greater Buenos Aires area.

The State is its second biggest stakeholder, owning 27 percent of total shares, which it obtained after the 2008 nationalization of the AFJP pension funds.

Pampa Energía, owned by businessman Marcelo Mindlin, owns 65 percent of Edenor. His stake was acquired on June 29, 2005.

The initial relationship between Mindlin and the national government was positive but fell apart in 2012 after Edenor president Ricardo Torres sent a letter to electricity market wholesaler CAMMESA accusing the government of the company’s critical situation and warning about “serious short-term consequences if urgent measures are not taken.”

Herald staff

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