Economy April 29, 2015 | 8:25 am

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Private sector must control power plants: Big business

Santo Doming.- The National Business Council (Conep) on Tuesday said ownership and operational control of the coal-fired plants at Punta Catalina must pass to the private sector within one year after the Electricity Pact is signed.

They also said that all generation operations must transferred to the private sector within five years, excepting only the hydroelectrics and power lines.

Big business’ demands were disclosed during a meeting headed by Conep president Rafael Blanco, who proposes discussing the Electricity Pact based on the elimination of electricity subsidies and the return of the state’s only role as regulator.

In the meeting with economic editors of major print media Conep electricity sector coordinator Marisol Vicens said with the exception of five years, the proposal seeks to incorporate private participation, by opening transparent call for tenders for the property’s operation and maintenance.

She said the state should be the regulator to avert conflicts of interest and help the industry out of its "mess" which has bogged it down for more than four decades.

Regarding the subsidy Blanco said during the 15 years after the electricity sector’s capitalization, the subsidy went from RD$350.0 billion, or 2% of GDP in 2014. "It’s money the country is burning without any benefit. It’s a cancer."

He said just in 2014 losses were RD$472.3 million (34%) adding that the Conep expects that private investment will reach the electricity sector. “The state doesn’t have those resources.”

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