Bolivia nationalises two Spanish power firms

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

In an effort to assert control over national resources Bolivia has nationalized two Spanish electricity distribution companies. The measure, on the eve of a new year, comes as an example of initiatives to secure the interests of people.

Reuters reported on December 29 that the nationalisation that day of two electricity distribution companies owned by Spanish utility Iberdrola were “the latest move by leftist President Evo Morales to assert control over the country's resources”.

Morales said the decision was aimed at enhancing rural energy services and Iberdrola would be compensated according to a valuation to be drawn up by an independent arbiter.

"We considered this measure necessary to ensure equitable energy tariffs ... and to see to it that the quality of electricity service is uniform in rural as well as urban areas," Morales said.

Morales has nationalised oil, telecommunications, mining and electrical generation companies.

Reuters said: “In June, Morales took control of global commodities giant Glencore's tin and zinc mine in Bolivia and more nationalizations of mining companies could be ahead in the Andean country ...

“The nationalization also includes two small suppliers owned by Iberdrola, which provide services to the distributors ...

“In 2006, Morales announced the takeover of petroleum companies operating in Bolivia. He later nationalized oil and gas reserves to redistribute wealth to the landlocked country's indigenous majority.”

From GLW issue 950