Progress in the privatization of water-related public services: a country-by-country review for South America CEPIS/OPS/OMS



    Drinking water supply and sanitation

The provision of public services, in Guatemala, still remains largely in the hands of the public sector. The Government of Guatemala intends to increase the role of the private sector, however, and there are plans for the privatization of the power sector.

(a) Drinking water supply and sanitation

Is estimated that 70 per cent of the population has access to drinking water, 55 per cent in rural areas, 90 per cent in the metropolitan area and 100 per cent in provincial cities. 70 per cent of the population has adequate sanitation, 61 per cent in rural areas, 70 per cent in the metropolitan area and 100 per cent in provincial cities. Water losses in the Ciudad de Guatemala system are estimated to exceed 40 per cent. There are few wastewater treatment plants and in general, these are not well run.

The municipalities are directly responsible for the administration, operation and maintenance of drinking water supply and sewerage services. The Municipality of Ciudad de Guatemala operates the largest municipal company, the Empresa Municipal de Agua de la Ciudad de Guatemala (EMPAGUA). The Unidad Ejecutora del Acueducto Nacional Xayá-Pixcayá of the Ministerio de Comunicaciones, Transportes y Obras Públicas (MCTOP) administers, operates and maintains the Acueducto Nacional Xayá-Pixcayá which supplies water - about 1 mü/sec - to the capital.

The Comité Permanente de Coordinación de Agua y Saneamiento (COPECAS), created in October 1985 by Acuerdo Gubernativo þ 1036-85, coordinates activities of the different public agencies operating in the sector. The Instituto de Fomento Municipal (INFOM), created by Decree þ 1132 of February 1957, provides assistance to the municipalities.

Rural drinking water supply and sanitation are the responsibility of two units of the Ministerio de Salud Pública y Asistencia Social (MSPAS) - the División de Saneamiento del Medio (DSM) and the Unidad Ejecutora del Programa de Acueductos Rurales (UNEPAR). At the local level, the comités administradores de agua potable (CAAP) administer, operate and maintain the systems.

There are several small private companies; some of them distribute water by tanker trucks. The largest is the Compañía Nacional de Agua de Mariscal which provides services to an estimated 14 per cent of the population of Ciudad de Guatemala.

It is expected that the sector will be reformed. The government is considering promoting private participation, through concessions or other means. There are, as well, some initiatives at the municipal level in Ciudad de Guatemala. The government also intends to improve cost recovery. The lack of an adequate regulatory framework and of an independent regulatory authority is hampering these efforts.

(b) Electricity

Sector Statistics
Net installed capacity in 1994 (MW):
  • thermal............................ 328
  • hydro ............................. 438
  • TOTAL...........................766

Percentage of population with
residential connections in 1989...........31

The Instituto Nacional de Electrificación (INDE), a state-owned national utility created through Decree Law þ 1287 of 27 May 1959, is in charge of power generation and transmission at the national level, and distribution outside Ciudad de Guatemala.

The Empresa Eléctrica de Guatemala S.A. (EEGSA), created in 1894, formerly a subsidiary of Boise Cascade, but since 1972 with majority state ownership, distributes electricity in Ciudad de Guatemala and surrounding areas. EEGSA is also a generation company; it accounts for all new capacity installed since 1986 and has also signed contracts with independent power producers and co-generators.

There are also 12 small municipally owned distribution companies. These mostly buy from INDE, but have some generating capacity, including small hydroelectric plants.

The government began to encourage private participation in the electricity sector in the mid-eighties through Decree Law þ 20-86 þLey de Promoción de las Fuentes Nuevas y Renovables de Energíaþ which encouraged private participation in generation based on new and renewable resources. Additional initiatives (Acuerdo Gubernativo þ 815-93 of 1993) offered new opportunities to private generation which resulted in several contracts. Finally, a law adopted in 1995, opens INDE's transmission network to other generation and distribution companies, and allows it to buy and sell electricity under a contract with private parties. The creation of a regulatory framework is under discussion.

Private participation is growing in the sector and both INDE and EEGSA have negotiated power purchase agreements with independent power producers and intend to negotiate others.

INDE also intends to attract private sector investments for the development of the large geothermal potential of the country. It has recently granted a 25 year concession to Orzunil, S.A. for the 24 MW geothermal generation plant scheduled for completion in 1997.

It is expected that INDE will sell part of its assets to private parties, including several hydroelectric facilities as well as a substantial amount of its shares in EEGSA. Legislation is reportedly planned to privatize both generation and distribution.

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Actualizado el 08/Abr/97. Comentarios al Webmaster