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UPDATE - Ecuador utilities, including hydro operators, merge

New electric generating company Corporacion Electrica del Ecuador (Celec) has filed a licensing application with Ecuador's electricity regulator, noting it is assuming the rights and obligations of five generating companies, including three hydropower operators. Regulator Consejo Nacional de Electricidad (Conelec) said Celec registered its operation February 13 with Ecuador's Superintendencia de Companias. Its subsequent filing with Conelec February 28 requires Conelec to prepare a licensing contract for transfer of rights and responsibilities to Celec from its predecessor companies. (HNN 3/4/09) Companies being merged into Celec include three hydro operators: o Hidropaute S.A., which operates the 1,075-MW Paute hydroelectric project and is developing the 162.6-MW Mazar (HNN 1/3/08) and 550-MW Sopladora projects, all on the Paute River (HNN 4/11/08); o Hidroagoyan S.A., operator of 156-MW Agoyan (HNN 6/22/07) and 230-MW San Francisco on the Pastaza River (HNN 1/14/09); and o Termopichincha S.A., which, with Energia Argentina S.A. (Enarsa) of Argentina, formed a joint venture to develop the 1,500-MW Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric project on the Coca River. (HNN 3/5/09) Other firms being merged include thermal generators Electroguayas S.A. and Termoesmeraldas S.A. and transmission utility Transelectric S.A. The companies were required to merge by the government, which partially owns the companies through the Fondo de Solidaridad. Although they were not mentioned in Conelec's announcement, there had been previous reports Celec might also include hydro developer Hidropastaza, developer of San Francisco, and ElecAustro, which is developing 27.8-MW Soldados-Yanuncay-Minas on the Yanuncay River (HNN 12/17/08) and 26-MW Ocana. (HNN 2/18/09) Identifying Termopichincha hydro holdings.

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