International Update

  • May Edition: NRECA International Program Activities
    A local lineman and a volunteer work together in Haiti

    A local lineman and a volunteer work together in Haiti

    • In Ghana, work continues on the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) project. MCC requested NRECA support for a project that will focus on defining how markets in urbanized areas can be effectively interconnected to existing distribution service territories.  In the northern region of the country, two workshops on engineering planning and management information systems were offered to staff of the Northern Electric Distribution Company (NEDCo). The workshops were well attended and received very positive feedback from participants.
    • The Pilot Project for Sustainable Electricity Distribution (PPSELD) in Haiti achieved a major milestone. The sole public electric utility in Haiti and the Ministry of Energy signed an agreement that has given PPSELD the authority to interconnect the communities of Limonade, Terrier Rouge, and Trou du Nord. These three communities surround the town of Caracol, where the newly constructed industrial park is located. Upon signature of the agreement, line crews connected power to Trou du Nord and was celebrated by its residents. This was a huge win for the PPSELD team – congrats to all involved!
    • Also in Haiti, six linemen traveled to Caracol to support the Caracol Community Electrification Project (CCEP).  The team worked on a line extension to connect the community of Limonade and worked with CCEP linemen on safety training and skills development. The volunteers hailed from all over the U.S. – Jason Slaven and Robert Turner (Mid State EC in Oregon), Karl Brandt (Gascosage in Missouri), Toby Geiger (East Center Energy in Minnesota), Josh Hoffman (Northern Plains in North Dakota), and Jody Bruce (Verendrye in North Dakota). The volunteers from Missouri and North Dakota were even given Congressional recognition on the floor by their respective House representatives for their volunteer service.
    • A crew of 15 linemen from Arkansas traveled to Huehuetenango, Guatemala earlier this year as part of the ongoing Arkansas Razorbacks project. The crew built a distribution system benefitting 54 families in 3 small communities. Two containers of donated materials and equipment were shipped to Guatemala prior to the arrival of the volunteers. A smaller group of Arkansas CEOs and board officers also traveled to the Guatemala project for the inauguration of the small distribution system. Senator Pryor of Arkansas recognized the efforts of these volunteers, as well another group that traveled last year, on the Senate Floor this month.
    • Discussions continue with USAID regarding NRECA remobilization into South Sudan, however the security situation in regions where NRECA International projects are located remains calm. Volunteer Randy Erickson from Kodiak Electric Co-op in Alaska recently traveled to Yei and Maridi with NRECA’s South Sudan Chief of Party. Randy was able to evaluate and address critical problems at the Yei diesel plant and perform routine maintenance on generators at the Maridi plant. Randy did an outstanding job of identifying the problems and training local counterparts.
    • Several months ago when the NRECA International Foundation requested utility trucks that could be donated to the Haiti projects, several co-ops quickly rose to the occasion. Umatilla Electric in Oregon and Rush Shelby Electric Co-op in Indiana have donated bucket trucks to the CCEP project in Caracol and Beartooth Electric Co-op in Montana donated a bucket truck to the newly formed co-op in the South of Haiti, for the Haitian Rural Electrification Cooperative (HREC) project.
    • Thanks to Hickman-Fulton Electric Cooperative in Kentucky, the Puerto Barrios Electric Municipality in Guatemala will have bright nights because of the co-op’s donation of about 400 lights and fixtures.
  • A Snapshot of Recent NRECA International Program Activities
    A Snapshot of Recent NRECA International Program Activities

    A Snapshot of Recent NRECA International Program Activities

    • The continued conflict in South Sudan is directly impacting NRECA International Programs, minimizing activities and travel for several staff members who have departed the country until conditions improve. The three community-based utilities started by NRECA and currently supported by the Electrification Sustainability Program have all cut back on hours of operation and use of fuel for maintenance. NRECA International remains optimistic about returning to full levels of operation.
    • Power Africa! -  The Ghana Power Sector Feasibility Studies project has begun.  Financed by the Millennium Challenge Corporation, this project evaluates the potential investments in Ghana's two distribution utilities – ECG in the south and NEDCo in the north. Another separate project with NEDCo, financed by the US Trade and Development Agency, has been underway since November to put forth management and investment planning recommendations.
    • Pilot project activities under the SGAA project (Smart Grid Alliance for Americas) are nearing completion in Costa Rica and Chile, while a pilot meter installation project gears up in Honduras.  Alliance members from several countries are participating in an information exchange workshop this month and will hold a final seminar in May when the project wraps up.  The project has allowed our team to share automated metering infrastructure technology lessons with a large group of rural utilities in Central and South America. Zach Rebstock and Skeeter Ballard of United Coop Services in Texas recently volunteered in Paillaco, Chile. They helped  install and setup AMI systems and shared operation and maintenance best practices with local teams.
    • The efforts to rebuild in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines continue. NRECA presented checks to 11 Filipino electric co-ops to provide Typhoon Haiyan relief. These co-ops have also rallied to help one another by sending more than 360 linemen from 38 co-ops in power restoration and rehabilitation efforts in Leyte, Cebu and Iloilo. NRECA continues to show support for the Philippines National Electrification Administration and their electric cooperative community by providing financial support to Filipino cooperative crews involved in power restoration and recovery efforts. More than $120,000 has been raised to date.
    • Darron Scott, CEO of Kodiak Electric in Alaska, traveled to Caracol, Haiti as a volunteer. He helped assess the newly built power plant, checked that the recently constructed plan met international standards, and also helped develop a reporting system for future performance inquiries.
    • Sauber Manufacturing, Inc. donated a customized trailer to the Empresa Electrica Municipal de Puerto Barrios in Guatemala. Bayfield Electric Coop of Wisconsin donated a digger derrick truck to the newly established co-op in the south of Haiti with the USAID funded Haitian Rural Electrical Cooperative project.
  • January 2014 International Update
    International Update
    A snapshot of Recent NRECA International Program Activities
    • In an effort to involve more NRECA employees in International Program, an essay competition was launched earlier this year. NRECA employee Michele Doyle was the first winner and traveled as a volunteer to Tanzania on behalf of the Foundation. Check out her story in this edition of TieLine.
    • Haiti has its first electric cooperative! The Haiti Rural Electric Cooperative (HREC) project established Cooperative Electrique de l’Arrondissement des Coteaux (CEAC). Located in the south of Haiti, this co-op will be powered by a solar-diesel hybrid system in conjunction with an upgraded medium voltage distribution network. The system will provide service to 3 communities within the cooperative’s service territory. To date, more than 250 co-op membership applications have been received.
    • International Programs presented recommendations on how to overcome institutional challenges to help the distribution service provider reach financial sustainability and to substantially expand the distribution grid in the South Sudan capital of Juba. In a report for the South Sudan Electricity Corporation (SSEC) and the Ministry of Electricity, Dams, Irrigation and Water Resources (MEDIWR), the NRECA team recommendations include a comprehensive training program, mentoring for senior staff and incorporating IT into new business systems. This project is being funded by NVE (A Norwegian aid agency), while the African Development Bank intends to finance the first phase of infrastructure development for the distribution system expansion.
    • Another win for the Smart Grid Alliance Project! Matt Hillebrand, a volunteer from Central Lincoln Public Utility (OR), traveled to Costa Rica to inspect the equipment and software installation at Coopelesca and Coopeguanacaste, two Costa Rican cooperatives participating in the Smart Grid Alliance of the Americas. Collectors, routers and meters were inspected; the team found that the systems are working very well.
    • There were October celebrations in Guatemala marking NRECA’s 25th Anniversary in the country. Several staff members were celebrated and honored for their long service, including Hugo Arriaza as one of the original team members, Marisol Najera for 23 years of service and Zully Guzman for 16 years of service. The celebrations coincided with NRECA Board Vice President Mel Coleman’s travel to Guatemala. He represented the Arkansas Razorback Operation, a project to electrify several villages, in partnership with the Foundation.