Haiti President Visits NRECA ProjectBy Victoria A. Rocha | ECT Staff Writer Published: April 17th, 2014
Haitian President Michel Martelly and U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Pamela White have learned first-hand about the success of an NRECA International Programs electrification project in providing reliable, affordable electricity to local towns.
NRECA Country Director Myk Manon led the officials on a tour April 10 of a 10-megawatt plant that supplies power for the Pilot Project for Sustainable Electricity Distribution (PPSELD) in Caracol, Haiti.
Gen. John F. Kelly, commander of the U.S. Southern Command, was also part of the group that arrived in the northern Haiti town on two Blackhawk helicopters at a nearby landing pad.
Over a three-year period, PPSELD aims to establish a self-sustaining utility that provides reliable power 24 hours a day, seven days a week in Caracol.
Under a $24 million, three-year contract from the U.S. Agency for International Development to NRECA International Ltd., PPSELD serves more than 1,260 households in the Caracol commune and there are plans to extend service to three more communes.
Manon said he told Martelly that PPSELD is Haiti’s only utility providing around-the-clock reliable electric service.
“Since the president had visited the plant before, he was more interested in how the customers are receiving electricity,” said Manon.
Manon said they discussed the customer collection rate at national power company Electricité d’Haiti (EdH), which is less than 50 percent, while PPSELD’s is 90 percent.
“I explained how we disconnect those customers who don’t pay,” said Manon.
The Haitian entourage was the second set of distinguished guests to visit the site of the NRECA International electrification project in Caracol, Haiti. In 2012, former President Bill Clinton and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the Caracol Industrial Park, where the 10-MW plant and PPSELD office are located.
Manon led that their tour, too. “In my 40-some years of this work, I’ve never had a U.S. president—past or present—or a secretary of state attend an inauguration of a rural electrification project overseas,” he said afterward.