CORPOELEC: Once the solution, now the problem

Corpoelec_sede_2New Electricity Minister Jesse Chacón has tried to differentiate himself from his predecessors during his first days at the job. He even pledged to quit if his new plan to fix the ongoing electricity crisis doesn’t work.

But he also wants a radical change inside the national electric corporation (CORPOELEC), so days after its invervention for six months, he proposed to split it into two companies.

At the outset of the crisis, the government used the argument that the old system of multiple electrical companies across the country was to blame, so the comandante presidente ordered in July of 2007 that all of them merger into one single entity.

Even if then Minister Alí Rodríguez Araque insisted that CORPOELEC was doing fine in 2011, his replacement Hector Navarro admitted in December of 2012 that the corporation “…was organized to be ungovernable” and proposed a major internal restructuring process. Navarro didn’t have the chance of oversee it himself as he was let go of the post a week after the recent presidential election. 

Chacón’s proposal calls for two companies: one dedicated exclusively to services and alongside an industrial firm in charge of manufacturing  the supplies required by the national grid and even energy-saving light bulbs.

That doesn’t sound so much like a split as a proposal to create of a brand new company while the existing utility remains intact. A real split would have been leaving all matters related to generation in one company and all distribution affairs in other. But the plan could be opposed by electrical workers’ unions which have also challenged the intervention of CORPOELEC.

The biggest dissapointment is that what was sold to the public as part of the solution has become a big problem in itself and in consequence, the electricity crisis could have actually got worse as a result.