LA PAZ – The facilities of electric utilities Electropaz and Elfeo, two of the Bolivian units of Spanish power company Iberdrola nationalized by Bolivia earlier this weekend, are being guarded Sunday by the security forces and no incidents have been reported.
More than 700 police officers and soldiers spent the night at the Electropaz offices in La Paz and the Elfeo offices in Oruro.
No power outages have occurred since Saturday, when President Evo Morales announced the nationalization of the four Iberdrola units in Bolivia, including the main electricity distributors in La Paz and Oruro provinces.
The nationalization decree also covers services company Edeser and investment firm Compañia Administradora de Empresas.
All four units are majority owned by Iberdrola subsidiary Iberbolivia.
Peasants in La Paz province expressed support Saturday night for the nationalization of the Spanish power companies and called for a cut in electricity rates.
“In the countryside, the cost was nearly triple what they charged in the cities and in the countryside there is no television, no showers, no computers, but you pay more. That’s why we owe thanks to brother Evo Morales,” peasant leader Adrian Mamani told the official ABI news agency.
As in previous nationalizations, the Bolivian government will hire an independent auditor to determine the amount of compensation to be paid to Iberdrola, the president said.
La Paz has yet to come to an agreement with another Spanish utility, Red Electrica Española, on compensation for the nationalization in May of its stake in power distributor TDE.
Bolivian state utility ENDE will assume control of the four former Iberdrola units, Morales said.
Spain is the No. 2 foreign investor in Bolivia, trailing just the United States, thanks to a large presence in the energy industry, mainly through oil company Repsol and Iberdrola.
Repsol’s units account for nearly 80 percent of Spanish investment in the Andean nation, government figures show.