Written by Rebecca Castrejon, Editor
Produced by Jassen Pintado, Director of Projects for WDM Group - LATAM
Interviewee Roberto González, General Manager of Distribuidora de Electricidad DELSUR
More Power for El Salvador
In an interview with Roberto Gonzalez, General Manager of Distribuidora de Electricidad, he mentioned some of the company’s most innovative projects, growth, projections and inclusion of renewable programs, as well as synergies with other allied companies of Group EPM, in an effort to optimize logistics through a joint purchase of electricity, specially between all sister companies in Central America.
"This depends on how the regional market evolves and if the rules permit the flow of energy through these countries to have joint energy sources," said Gonzalez.
Another important participation comes from their suppliers and local producers, from who DELSUR buys materials such as Cerrajes, concrete poles and electrical conductors.
"We have lots of local representatives with whom there is a good proximity, allowing us to increase our knowledge of what suppliers have internationally," said the general manager.
Distribuidora de Electricidad DELSUR has made it a priority to invest in the latest technology as part of its commitment to ensure electrical continuity. In 2014, the company invested seven million dollars in infrastructure, divided into:
• 14 percent to the replacement of assets.
• 30 percent to increasing the distribution capacity.
• 56 percent to the replacement of equipment.
The substation San Marcos is another one of these industrial innovations and a project that will benefit around 12,000 homes in San Salvador. DELSUR is also investing US $400,000, in the construction of two new access points in substation ETESAL, enhancing commercial power supply for civil works and electromechanical projects.
DELSUR now uses SAP to streamline the administrative area and digitize processes. Additionally, they have integrated handheld devices for recording information on the field, which means mobilizing attention to prevent network failures. One example is the incorporation of Advanced Control Systems to contain power outages.
"We want to update all management systems, these being commercial, administrative, distribution and operations. On this last one we are trying to incorporate geo-positioning to optimize all objectives," said Gonzalez.
El Salvador has been highlighted as one of the countries with the largest energy projects in the region. The company follows national initiatives, such as El Salvador ahorra energía, and incorporates JICA best practices (Japan International Cooperation Agency).
"As a distributor we are very concerned in promoting the use of renewable energy in El Salvador. We support all state-related plans to make a significant change in the energy matrix of the country," said the general manager.
With an estimated capital of US $200 million, DELSUR will integrate solar-photovoltaic and wind power supply to its operations, starting next October 2016.
"With the ultimate goal of changing the energy matrix, in 2013 we led a process which was awarded a thermal generation plant based on liquefied natural gas. We hope to begin operations in 2019, adding another supply that will be friendlier to the environment, " said Gonzalez.
Internally, its sustainable efforts include recycling and advertising environmental awareness through conscious programs such as the "Great Race for the Environment", held in collaboration with Fundacion Salvanatura.
The nearly 300 employees in DELSUR go through a training process to strengthening their capabilities, optimizing their occupational health during operations. In recognition of the formative responsibility of the company, the Regional Energy Integration Commission (CIER), awarded them with the recognition 3M for its efforts in environmental safety.
"Our staff is very motivated to carry out developments, they participate in social projects and give purpose to our operation," said the general manager.
DELSUR social initiatives include the integration of women as electrical operators, and driving progress in El Salvador through local alliances. Such is the case of working with municipalities and organizations like FISDL, to introduce electricity in rural areas.
As for education, DELSUR has sponsored computers for six schools in the city. They also seek to improve the quality of life of their employees by providing free healthcare.
Coping with the Salvadoran economy, DELSUR is designing long-term plans, which include the consolidation of energy within the Department of San Salvador, this being a metropolitan area of great importance and rapid commercial and residential growth.
"We expect at least one new medium-voltage substation to be installed for distribution, but its location depends on the growth of the industry, and we want to develop it in an area of greater demand," added Gonzalez.
In the technological context, they are studying connectivity and applications via Smart Grid, a modern electrical network that will optimize all energy supply in DELSUR.
"We are calling equipment suppliers that relate to the distribution of Smart Grid to present us their latest developments," said the general manager.
They are studying software innovation with the inclusion of a digital communication system, in order to migrate the entire business and improve the logistic link with suppliers from the network.