Haiti is facing two energy challenges: a broken electricity sector and dependency on charcoal. Even before the 2010 earthquake, the power sector in Haiti was among the most challenged in the region. Only about one-quarter of the population had access to electricity. Of these consumers, half were connected to the electrical grid illegally. In place of a national grid, the national power utility, Electricité d’Haïti (EDH), operates one primary grid serving the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area and a small number of isolated power grids for the rest of the country. Existing distribution systems are weak and require rehabilitation.
Even for those with access to electricity, reliability is inconsistent. Users in Port-au-Prince, for example, have an average of 10 hours of service per day. This lack of reliability requires many businesses and households to install costly, inefficient, and environmentally unfriendly diesel generators. Although residential tariffs in Haiti are relatively low compared with other fossil-fuel-dependent countries in the region, commercial and industrial tariffs are amongst the highest. This lack of access to affordable and reliable power hinders investment, constrains the development of productive businesses, and degrades living standards for residential customers.
USAID Strategy and Activities
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is focusing its efforts on demonstrating that a sustainable electric utility can operate in Haiti. A pilot program is in place in the north with a power plant providing continuous, reliable electricity to the tenants of the Caracol Industrial Park as well as residences and businesses in four surrounding communities. The objective of USAID’s program is to establish a financially viable electric utility that provides dependable, affordable electricity to customers while implementing a payment structure that results in a high collection rate of electricity bills. One key goal is to create an environment that will attract private sector interest in taking over the utility’s operations and maintenance responsibilities, resulting in the long-term sustainability of the electric utility. Two main activities to support this program include:
Caracol Industrial Park Power Plant: USAID funded the construction of a 10 megawatt (MW) power plant with transmission and distribution facilities to serve the park’s tenants as well as commercial and residential customers in the surrounding villages.
Pilot Project for the Sustainable Electricity Distribution: Until a public private partnership arrangement for operation and maintenance is put in place, USAID is funding a U.S. firm to manage the plant, put in place operating systems (meter installation, billing practices, line repair and maintenance) and collection procedures for the tenants in the Caracol Industrial Park and to customers within the surrounding communities of Caracol (including Village la Difference housing development), Trou-du-Nord, Sainte Suzanne, Terrier Rouge, and Limonade.
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Last updated: May 16, 2016