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Wednesday, August 20 2014 @ 12:34 PM EDT

Martinelli Promises Panamanians Will Have The Cheapest Electrical Power In Latin America

Infrastructure UpgradesThe President, Ricardo Martinelli said on Thursday 5 July that in 2013 there will be a reduction in the cost of electricity, so that the Panamanians have "the cheapest electricity" in Latin America. "Panama is one of the few countries that has been able to change the energy matrix. We are going to provide and produce electricity based on hydropower," said the president. At reasonable prices based on water and gas; and not on fuel that is increasing in cost, he said. Martinelli made his remarks at the opening of the new headquarters of the Institute for Training and Development of Human Resources (IFARHU), in the village of 24 de Diciembre. At the event Martinelli said the young students receive assistance from the universal scholarship program without their parents being associated with any particular political party. He said the universal grant is a palliative to the students that helps them greatly, supplementing the family income. (Estrella)

Editor's Comment: There are a lot of new hydro electric projects under construction which have not yet come online. Once they do, then there will be more and cheaper electricity available, and there will be a downward trend in the electricity rates being charged to residents and business owners. The government has also recently taken steps to allow for the construction of new electricity generation plants that burn natural gas instead of bunker fuel - and apparently natural gas is cheaper and more readily available than bunker, so the math works to allow for the generation of cheaper electricity. Also this week Martinelli attended a groundbreaking ceremony for a new wind power project being built. So yeah, Panama is moving to more hydro, gas, and wind - in an effort to get away from the more expensive bunker fired plants - but not all of those efforts are on line yet. Therefore, for the moment the government has stopped paying subsidies that had been keeping electric bills artificially low, so this month everyone is going through some sticker shock. Martinelli's "wait for it" message might not be so well received this month.

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