The power sector in the Dominican Republic has traditionally been, and still is, a bottleneck to the country’s economic growth.
A prolonged electricity crisis and ineffective remedial measures have led to a vicious cycle of regular blackouts, high operating costs of the distribution companies, large losses including electricity theft through illegal connections, high retail tariffs to cover these inefficiencies, low bill collection rates, a significant fiscal burden for the government through direct and indirect subsidies, and very high costs for consumers as many of them have to rely on expensive alternative self-generated electricity. According to the World Bank, the revitalization of the Dominican economy depends greatly on a sound reform of the sector.
Electricity generation in the Dominican Republic is dominated by thermal units fired mostly by imported oil or gas (or liquefied natural gas). At the end of 2006, total installed capacity of public utilities was 3,394 MW, of which 86% was fossil fuels and 14% was hydroelectric.
Total electricity generated in 2006 was 10.7 TWh. Generation experienced a 7.7% annual increase between 1996 and 2005. However, between 2004 and 2006, there has been an average annual decrease of about 10% in total electricity generated.
Electricity demand in the Dominican Republic has grown considerably since the early 1990s, at a yearly average of 10% between 1992 and 2003. Consumption is very close to the regional average, with annual per capita consumption of 1,349 kWh in 2003. Total electricity sold in 2005 was 3.72 TWh. Demand has constrained supply, which in turn is limited by subsidies
In 2001, the share of each sector in the electricity sold by the three distribution companies (EdeNorte, EdeSur and EdeEste) was as follows:
- Residential: 44%
- Commercial: 10%
- Industrial: 30%
- Public: 16%
Annual demand increase has been estimated at about 6% for the upcoming years.
Interruption frequency and duration
The transmission system in the Dominican Republic is weak and overloaded, failing to provide reliable power and causing system-wide blackouts. East-west and north-south transmission lines need to be reinforced in order to deliver electricity to the capital and northern regions and to transmit power from the new power plants in the eastern region.
The National Energy Commission (Comisión Nacional de la Energía, CNE) is the policy agency, one of its main responsibilities being the elaboration of the National Energy Plan. The CNE presented in 2004 the National Energy Plan for the period 2004-2015 as well as the Indicative Plan of Electricity Generation (PIEGE) for the period 2006-2020.
The Electricity Superintendence (Superintendencia de Electricidad, SIE) is the regulatory agency, while the Coordination Agency (Organismo Coordinador, OC) was created to coordinate dispatch of electricity.
The Dominican Corporation of State Electricity Companies (Corporación Dominicana de Empresas Eléctricas Estatales – CDEEE) is a holding company that brings together all government-owned generation, transmission and distribution companies and associated government programs in the country. It consists of:
- the Hydroelectricity Generation Company;
- the Electricity Transmission Company, ETED;
- the Rural and Suburban Electrification Unit, UERS;
- the Blackout Reduction Program, PRA;
- 50% of the North Distribution Company, EdeNorte;
- 50% of the South Distribution Company, EdeSur; and
- the 50% government holding of the East Distribution Company, EdeEste.