SANTO DOMINGO - Blackouts Plague Republic : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

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Story Filed: Monday, May 29, 2000 7:00 PM EST

Santo Domingo, May 29, 2000 (EFE via COMTEX) -- Extended power outages are a matter of concern for citizens of the Dominican Republic, where numerous blackouts disrupt activities at medical clinics, hospitals, schools and business, often on a daily basis.

In Santiago, the nation's shaky electrical grid - responsible for power outages that can last up to 15 hours a day - keeps hospital employees and night school teachers wondering when the next interruption will come.

The country's 22 hydroelectric plants, with an installed capacity of 401.09 megawatts, is running at only 75 percent capacity, a status labeled as "normal for this time of the year" by the Dominican Electricity Corporation (CDE).

CDE spokesman Domingo Paez said the matter is out of the CDE's hands, and the Office of the Superintendent of Electricity and other energy suppliers need to provide the country with an explanation of the current crisis.

The Superintendency of Electricity said it is studying the matter and will issue a press release once an explanation has been determined.

The shortage of electrical energy has been blamed on private power generators, which currently only supply 392,000 of the 815,000 kilowatts they are capable of producing.

According to recent reports, the nation's energy demand has held steady around 1,400 megawatts, while the supply has dropped off over the past few weeks.

Dominicans from all walks of life and industry are irritated by both the length and number of the blackouts, as well as not knowing where to direct their complaints.

To make matters worse, sector analysts have given the country's approximately eight million residents little hope for optimism, saying they see no short-term solutions in sight. EFE



-- (, May 30, 2000

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