UTE spent an extra US$360 million due to the drought

UTE spent an extra US$360 million due to the drought

The National Administration of State Power Plants and Transmissions (UTE) allocated an additional 360 million dollars over the budget planned for this year, due to purchases of fuel and energy from Brazil to which it had to resort to satisfy local demand in the midst of the drought history that went through Uruguay.

The figure was confirmed by the president of UTE, Silvia Emaldi, which also highlighted the fact that, since November 2022, the basins of the country’s hydroelectric plants had not received rain. In this critical scenario, and in the midst of the worst drought in the last century in the country, the state company had to resort to purchasing fuel to power the thermoelectric plants; as well as, later, to the import of energy from Brazil —a cheaper alternative to fossil fuels.

Currently, and after the significant rainfall that fell during August and in the first days of September, UTE once again exported electricity to Argentina while “the Salto Grande Basin like the Black river are at normal values,” Emaldi explained at the inauguration of the company’s stand at the Expo Prado, where his presentation focused mainly on the incidence of drought in the country’s electrification plans.

UTE plans

Regarding access to the electrical grid for homes in Uruguay, the leader pointed out that there are still 800 homes that do not have access, but stated that she hopes that by early 2025 the country will be “100% electrified.”

On the other hand, Emaldi referred to the preloading system that UTE seeks to offer at the end of this year and responded to the criticism of the director of the entity representing the Frente Amplio, Fernanda Cardona, who said that the plan puts the sectors at risk. of the most vulnerable society.

“That is not like that,” he maintained, and pointed out that what is done “is to reduce the maximum power they have” so that they remain in the system, but “the service is not cut off,” defended the president of UTE. .

The increase in spending, in the midst of a new competition framework

UTE’s exceptional year in terms of expenses is now impacted by the decree of the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining (MIEM) which enables private generators of non-conventional renewable energy to constantly supply these energies to large customers. In this regard, Emaldi had already indicated that the state-owned company Uruguay “it is working in a new competition framework”, but that it is not a privatization or a significant risk for the company’s finances.

“We believe that the generation offers that the company has from hydraulic, thermal, solar, wind and biomass are an offer that guarantees a service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and, well, we are in this framework of competition trying to lead like we have always done more value to all customersto homes, to small and medium-sized businesses and also to large companies that in this case may choose to have the energy provided by a private generator in a framework that is limited to about 60 companies,” explained the president of UTE at a press conference.

Regarding a possible impact on rates, Emaldi ruled out increases to compensate for the loss of large clients. “Like any company, we never like to lose customers but, at the same time, we are gaining many others because consumption in the country continues to grow“, he stressed, and added that “the annual growth in consumption in the country is of the order of 2% and we are in figures between 3% and 5%. This year we plan to close with 5%.”

Along the same lines, the leader specified that “we are gaining in other uses and we are putting a very strong focus on substitution of fossil fuels. For example, with the introduction of air conditioning in greater volume, heat pumps, electric mobility and, without a doubt, also with offers that we will make to large customers as well.”

On the other hand, the state company will continue to obtain income even from those businesses between private parties, since it will charge a Toll for the use of his transmission and distribution network, which remains monopolistic. “What is enabled by the regulatory framework law is that generation is no longer the sole responsibility of UTE but from other actors,” Emaldi clarified.

Source: Ambito

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