There is an 82 percent probability that starting in June the phenomenon of the child and the possibility that it persists until December of this year and the beginning of 2024 is greater than 90 percent, according to the National Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States.

This is synonymous with drought and as Colombia produces approximately 80 percent of electricity with waterThe arrival of this climatic phenomenon has alerted not only the Government but also companies in the sector to prevent the country from «turning off».

(Read also: This is how Colombia prepares to avoid running out of energy with the El Niño Phenomenon)


Juan Pablo Rueda Bustamante / EL TIEMPO

What is inevitable is that Colombians will have to face higher energy rates, just as the cost of living has begun to ease after more than two years of rising.

Producing energy with water is much cheaper than the other ways. According to the executive director of the National Association of Generating Companies (Andeg), Alejandro Castañeda, with the arrival of El Niño The thermal ones can contribute between 55 and 65 percent of the total electricitywhen they normally put 20 percent.

A greater participation will translate into higher rates and more now that the cost of fuels has increased substantially. For example, the price of coal has tripled in the last two yearsand imported natural gas costs four times as much, after the war in Ukraine.

The current situation has meant that gas and coal prices are higher than in recent decades and, in effect, we can see a pressure

It is the same perception that the president of the Colombian Association of Electric Power Generators (Acolgén) has, natalia gutierrez, who assured that «the current situation has caused gas and coal prices to be higher than in recent decades and, indeed, we can see pressure.»

However, the market design has a ceiling, which is the scarcity price. This is the maximum cost that a user would pay for each kilowatt hour that includes the traders in the energy exchange and this prevents the rate increase from being unlimited when the operation of thermoelectric plants begins to increase.

For May, the shortage price was set at 1,214 pesos, while the price of energy on the stock market was at 792 pesos last Tuesday. Andeg calculations indicate that for every 100 pesos that the stock price rises, the rate of a user increases 25 pesos, that is, 3 percent.

However, Jaime Alejandro Zapata, manager of the National Dispatch Center (CND), points out that in Colombia, normally, close to 70 percent of the energy consumption of the year or two years is negotiated in contracts where there are already fixed prices, therefore, rate increases will not be seen immediately.

(Read also: El Niño phenomenon: the devastating effects that Colombia experienced in past years)


Taken from the Gecelca 3 website

Is there a risk of blackout?

The thermal plants are ready and prepared to meet the national demand at the time the system requires it.

The arrival of an El Niño phenomenon also generates great uncertainty about whether or not Colombia is prepared to face it without running the risk of risk of power rationing like the one that happened in 1992 and appeared for almost a year.

In case of any doubt, Alejandro Castañeda states that the thermals are totally ready and prepared to meet the national demand at the time the system requires it and give that reliability that the country requires.

He says that in recent years, They have dedicated themselves to doing the respective maintenance so that the plants are fully ready to start generating at the time the system requires it.

Andeg’s executive director also highlights that all coal, natural gas supply contracts are insured and liquids to guarantee the fuel that is required to turn on the plants and produce the firm energy that all Colombians and companies require.

(Also read: El Niño phenomenon: when will it begin to be felt in Colombia?)


Guillermo González – Archive / EL TIEMPO

With the plants that already exist, plus the additional capacity that two thermoelectric plants will deliver this year to the national system –Termocandelaria (250 megawatts) and Termocaribe 3 (48 megawatts)– and units three and four of Hidroituango that are expected to start generating at end of 2023, «it can be said that there is enough firm energy to meet the demand,» says Alejandro Castañeda.

it is disassembling
about 75 percent of the profits they have
these projects

Additionally, the Minister of Mines and Energy, Irene Vélez, points out that «We do not currently have a ration alert. Whoever is sending that message is really creating panic at a time that is not worth it.»

Although the CND manager assures that in the future there is no risk of a «blackout» either because the other four units of Hidroituango and other thermal generation projects, the president of Acolgén states that a higher tax burden could make the projects unfeasible, especially those of non-conventional renewable energies.

«With the tax reform and some articles approved in the National Development Plan, about 75 percent of the benefits of these projects are being dismantled,» he says.

This is added to the fact that currently a generation project that should take four years is taking up to eight years to start operating, that is, construction is taking twice as long.

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