Public-Private Sector to Create New Energy System for Haiti

In an effort to turn around the ailing and fragile electricity system in Haiti, Prime Minister Lamothe met with U.S. officials to discuss how to give the Haitian population what it has long needed, a dependable and widely-available electricity system. Also present during the discussion was Cheryl Mills, a U.S. State Department representative, and Pamela White, the U.S. Ambassador to Haiti.


The two main problems, which beset Electricity of Haiti's (EdH) system are a diminished production capability and mismanagement of the system, which has led to significant losses in revenues. The government of Haiti (GOH) wants to form a partnership with the private sector to increase the production and availability of electricity. The World Bank (WB) and Inter-American Investment Bank (IAIB) are willing to partner with the GOH to achieve a well-managed and -operated power system for the Haitian people.

In terms of electrical production, the initiation apparatus is out-of-date and is expensive to maintain and operate. It hasn't helped the GOH eradicated the Secretary of Energy, Mines, and Telecommunications (SEEMT) Department eight years ago, leaving itself without the technical support to confront the emergency continuing in the power sector. It has since replaced SEEMT with the Council of Modernization of Public Enterprises (CMEP) to restore technical capability through reform measures.

Out of a population of ten million on the island, only 12.5% get electrical service. If you count those, who obtain electrical service illegally, that figure climbs to 31%. Among the population, who get electricity, the service is spotty, with less than half a day's worth of available power. Even worse, Fort-Liberté of Nord-Est Department has not been supplied with electrical service by EdH for the past ten years. Customers are forced to use generators to obtain electricity.

EdH consistently runs in the red. Part of this is due to the small size of the public sector, which offers fewer resources to tackle the problem. This leads to poor maintenance of the power system, because of unavailable financing. Then too, it is vulnerable to malfunctioning, malicious mischief, and out-of-date recordkeeping and tracking systems to pull up customer information and payment histories.

EdH uses hydroelectricity as its only renewable source, accounting for 26% of the connected volume. A just-completed hydroelectric project in the Artibonite Department is starting to implement the plant's operational volume of 10 MW, with a potential capability of 32 MW. Both wind and solar renewables are being explored for their possibilities as part of GOH's comprehensive approach to solving the electricity dilemma in Haiti.

Besides the WB and IAIB, investors outside the country are prepared to offer technical help to the GOH to better the energy system's infrastructure, according to a Lamothe spokesperson.

The biggest challenges the electricity sector grapples with are a lack of qualified workers, government meddling, poor administrative structuring, inefficient policies, and inadequate guidance from those at the top. A monumental task awaits the GOH to provide the country with a fully serviceable electrical system for all regions.

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