MONTEVIDEO – Uruguay has launched a new plan for a rural electricity grid, with which it aims to reach the 0.3 percent of homes in the country’s interior that still lacks power lines.
The purpose of the plan, dubbed “Rural Electrification,” is to provide electricity by the end of this government’s term in office (2015-2020) for the almost 2,600 people still off the grid, in order to achieve a “Uruguay 100 percent Electrified,” the head of Uruguay’s Budget and Planning Office (OPP), Alvaro Garcia, told the press at the launch ceremony.
Asked about the location of homes still lacking access to electricity, Garcia said they are in the least populated central and northeastern parts of the country.
Forty percent of the program’s value is being financed with an OPP subsidy, provided for in the National Budget Law.
The remaining 60 percent will be contributed by the residents who will benefit from the plan – those living in rural areas without electricity – who must form associations and present projects that, when accepted, will be financed by the authorities.
The official leaflet of the program explains that the larger the group of neighbors forming an association, the lower the cost of the individual connections.
Garcia said that such policies promote the “people’s spirit of association” and contribute to creating “a better civil society.”
Industry, Energy and Mines Minister Carolina Cosse said the government’s role is to “provide the resources and infrastructure for every home in the country, so people can live where they want,” not where they’re forced to live.
Another goal of the program is to “improve the quality of life” of communities, and, on this point, the Housing, Territorial Law and Environment Minister Eneida de Leon said that it also “keeps families and producers from leaving the interior to migrate to the cities” looking for a better life.
Several authorities at the event noted in their speeches Uruguay’s level of electric power, which currently stands at 99.7 percent and is therefore among the best in Latin America.