Colombia and Ecuador
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Transelectric delays interconnection till end-Feb.

Bnamericas Published: Tuesday, February 11, 2003
Ecuador's state-owned power transmission company Transelectric has pushed back the start-up of a transmission line linking Ecuador and Colombia to the end of February due to construction problems, Transelectric's project director Osvaldo Boada told BNamericas. Transelectric and its Colombian partner ISA had originally planned to start transporting power on January 10, but delayed the start-up date to January 30, and again to February 10, pending testing of the line. "One problem is the regulations on the Colombian side, but on our side of the line we have had various construction problems," Boada said without going into details. Colombia's energy regulator Creg was scheduled to approve regulations regarding international interconnections in late January. The regulations follow the signing of an accord in December 2002 by the five Andean Community (CAN) energy ministers - of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela - agreeing to integrate their power markets to create a regional trading bloc. Transelectric and Ecuador's power regulator Cenace must have compatible systems because Cenace operates the national grid, which will receive power from Colombia through the interconnection. The dual circuit 230kV, 211km line will have the capacity to transport 260MW of power between the two countries. Transelectric is investing US$31mn in the Ecuadorian stretch of the line, which runs 136km from capital Quito to the border town of Ipiales. Transelectric has also installed a substation called Pomasqui in Quito. ISA invested the remaining US$14mn to build its 75km stretch from Ipiales to Pasto, where it interconnects with Colombia's national grid. Initially, most of the power will be dispatched from Colombia to Ecuador, and a number of Colombian power companies have already signed contracts to deliver power to Ecuadorian companies once the line begins commercial operations.

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