The European Investment Bank has signed a USD 100 million loan agreement with the Government of the Dominican Republic to improve the electricity distribution system and the availability of power supply in the country. The three year project will improve the availability of power supply for over 680,000 households in the Dominican Republic.

In the margins of the EU-Caribbean Energy Conference that takes place today in Bridgetown, Barbados, the European Commission and European Investment Bank signed an agreement to improve the electricity distribution system and the power supply in the country. By funding the national programme Corporación Dominicana de Empresas Eléctricas Estatales (CDEEE), this EIB loan agreement aims to improve the national electricity distribution system, and the availability of power supply to consumers. This is the largest EIB loan in the Caribbean region to-date.

In parallel, the European Commission has complemented this loan with a grant of EUR 9.3 million through the Caribbean Investment Facility (CIF). This support will carry out similar investments specifically in the municipality of Santo Domingo Este (specifically in Los Mina), where a large part of the population lives below the poverty line, and is more affected by the lack of reliability of electricity supply.     

Pim Van Ballekom, European Investment Bank Vice President said: “We are proud to announce this agreement to benefit local communities and improve energy efficiency in the Dominican Republic. During my visit to Santo Domingo last November, I highlighted the importance of investing in the electricity sector, when signing our letter of intent to support the economic growth of the country. The EIB investment plus the Caribbean Investment Facility grant, will help the Electricity Distribution Companies to provide a more reliable electricity supply to people living and working in the Dominican Republic. The EIB started lending in the Dominican Republic in 1992 and we have already invested over EUR 315 million in a variety of projects including transport and energy projects and small business support schemes across the country.”

Jolita Butkeviciene, Director for Latin America and Caribbean, Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development said "Today is a great day for all those who support the institutional and democratic development of the Dominican Republic. By joining grant funding to loans, we want to improve the electrical distribution system and reduce losses while supporting the most disadvantaged sectors of Dominican society, especially in Santo Domingo Este".

Oscar de la Maza, Director of Renewable Energy from the Dominican Republic government said: “This project is part of our vision; to ensure sustainable energy services. We are heading in the right direction to mitigate losses of electricity in our distribution companies and consequently in improving their financial situation and the services they provide, for the benefit of our country.”

Background on the EU-funded programme

The objective of the EU-funded project is to improve the national electricity distribution system and the availability of power supply to consumers.

Through the loan agreement of the European Investment Bank coupled with the grant of the European Commission, the electricity distribution companies will gradually reduce the risk of cuts in the energy supply and will promote a culture of payment. The project will support the reduction of a significant number of illegal power lines that constitute a danger to public health as well as electricity waste. In addition to technical investments, it will also contribute to improving business efficiency of the Electricity Distribution Companies (EDEs), thereby enhancing the financial sustainability of the sector and limiting their dependence on government transfers. The project will also include a social program that will allow EDEs to work with local communities to offer educational programs on the safe and efficient use of electricity. The entire project will be implemented after the approval of the loan by the Congress of the Dominican Republic.

More information on the EU-Caribbean Energy Conference, 10-11th October in Barbados:

The Conference is a two-day joint EU-CARICOM/CARIFORUM initiative designed to foster partnerships between the EU, the Caribbean, development partners and the private sector. The event is expected to unfold the potential of the Caribbean region and leverage investments towards achieving the region’s ambitious renewable energy goals.

By bringing together EU, Caribbean countries, donors and the private sector to identify the opportunities for increased cooperation including business opportunities, the event aims to promote a conducive regulatory and institutional environment for sustainable energy in the Caribbean, as well as identifying financial mechanisms for investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The Conference will be the ‘launch pad’ for a solid, long-term cooperation between the Caribbean and the EU in the sustainable energy arena.