A bit more evidence of China’s economic growth recovery in the shape of official electricity statistics. The State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) said on Thursday that power consumption is expected to grow more than 9 per cent this year, according to Reuters.
Given that Li Keqiang, the prime minister-designate, once indicated that he put more faith in the electricity numbers than in the GDP data, these figures are worth considering. Continue reading »
Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi arrived in office pledging to deal with the country’s chronic power problems but – like his long-ruling predecessor Hosni Mubarak – he has instead been confounded by a continuing crisis, writes Dina Salah Eldin.
The nation’s creaking electricity network has groaned ever louder as fuel supply shortages have triggered repeated outages, while political turmoil has kept foreign investors at bay and left Egyptian officials chary about signing off deals and opening themselves to possible corruption allegations. Continue reading »
Fancy a bit of east African power? Umeme, the Ugandan power company, was successfully floated on Friday by Actis, a private equity group. So far, it’s been a hit, with the IPO oversubscribed and shares jumping 9 per cent on Monday.
But despite the investor thumbs-up, the stock is already rated by one analyst as a sell. Continue reading »
Fixing Nigeria’s power woes through privatisation was never going to easy. Staying employed while trying to do so seems equally challenging.
First to fall was Barth Nnaji (right), the power minister who had been credited with moving forward the privatisation process but was pressured to resign in August due a conflict of interest. On Tuesday he was followed out the door by Bolanle Onogorowa (left), head of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), the agency that oversees the sell-off of government assets. Continue reading »
Somebody has to get squeezed. In South Africa, the price of electricity is set to rise, as power generation costs go up. The question is by how much.
Eskom, the state-owned power company, says it needs put prices up by 16 per cent to avoid shortages. But the company chief executive, Brian Dames, has said they could climb even higher unless costs can be kept under control. And the spotlight is firmly on coal – and the mining companies that supply Eskom. Continue reading »
Emerging markets usually warrant a risk premium because they tend to be pretty risky – as CEZ, the Czech utility, is finding out with its troubled Albanian investment.
CEZ is moving to claim a World Bank guarantee on its investment in CEZ Shperndarje, a power distribution company in which it holds a 76 per cent stake (with the Albanian government holding the rest) – and a complete writedown of its total €160m investment is looking increasingly likely. Continue reading »
After a decade of virtually frozen tariffs that has pushed them to the brink of collapse, and a major power cut earlier this month, electricity and gas companies in Argentina have finally heard the magic words they have been longing for the government to say: higher tariffs.
Unfortunately for them, there’s a catch. They won’t get the money. A special government-administered fund will. Continue reading »
This was downtown Buenos Aires in the rush hour on Wednesday night. Ouch.
A gigantic power cut crippled the centre of the capital, causing three hours of chaos and misery for 3m people, some of whom were trapped in the metro or ended up having to walk miles home through gridlocked streets choked by failed traffic lights. It could get worse on Thursday. Continue reading »
The State Grid Corporation of China has made a public protest over recent moves to cancel visas and work permits for 28 of its technical staff in the Philippines, where it owns a big chunk of the power transmission operating company.
It’s not entirely clear what’s behind Manila’s actions. But energy officials are keen to ensure that control over power grid operations is in the hands of Philippine rather than Chinese nationals. Continue reading »
Croatia’s expected entry to the European Union in July 2013 will be a big step for the country, which emerged from a bloody war of independence two decades ago. But membership of the EU comes at a cost – including, it seems, rising energy prices. Continue reading »
Forget Carnaval, Brazil’s championship final or Independence Day – tonight is one of the most important dates in the Brazilian calendar.
Later tonight, millions of viewers around the country will finally find out who killed Max.
It’s the last episode of the hit soap opera, Avenida Brasil, which has gripped about 38m Brazilians over the past few months – that’s about 20 per cent of the population. Continue reading »
Hyundai Heavy Industries has won a $3.2bn contract from Saudi Electricity Company to build an oil-fired thermal power plant in Jeddah by 2017.
The turnkey project is important for both parties. Hyundai Heavy needs to make up for business lost in other sectors, notably shipping, and in other regions in the global economic downturn. And Saudi Arabia is using its oil revenues to boost the economy in an attempt to stave off any risk of the social unrest in surrounding Arab states. Continue reading »
Pakistan’s businesses should be celebrating this month’s interest rate cut of 50 basis points, which brought down the rate down to a maximum of 10 per cent.
But many critics argue it will take more than rate cuts to pull Pakistan’s economy out of trouble. Continue reading »
Cheaper prices might please customers, but they can stunt investment. Many African governments keep power tariffs artificially cheap, and far from helping domestic business, this results in under-investment in the power sector.
The result is regular shortfalls, load shedding and blackouts. Businesses are forced to rely on private generators which cost about four times as much as a reasonable tariff might. But Kenya is showing the way forward, according to industry insiders. Continue reading »
The first stage of electricity privatisation in Nigeria has not been without controversy but the with Tuesday’s announcement of winning bids for five power generation plants in an open process with international observers, the programme is back on track. Next up: distribution and transmission.
Among the winners in the generation round are companies from 13 countries including the US, Russia and China. The sale could net up to $1bn. Continue reading »