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Isla Mocha power supply normalizes after weeks of rationing

Isla Mocha’s electricity is diesel-generated, but the accumulation of debt has led the fuel provider to threaten supply interruption. Additionally, a diesel shipment was lost to the sea. Now the regional government and the supplier have reached an agreement to ensure debt payment and diesel supply.

Electricity supply on Isla Mocha, a small Pacific island, part of Biobío region, is normalizing after weeks of power rationing.

The island’s electricity comes from a diesel generator, supplied by fuel distributor DYM.

The company said in a letter from August 11 supply would be cut from August 15 because of a US$100,000 debt, accumulated over 20 months. The island needs about 400 gallons daily.

“After 12 consecutive months of non-payment, the firm is allowed to cut the power supply immediately,” DYM said. Yet, it refrained from the measure, using the letter as a warning instead.

An electricity generation cooperative is in charge of ensuring payment, for which it receives government subsidies. Radio BioBío reported, however, that fuel shortages led to rationing and earlier this month power was completely unavailable because the regional government couldn’t provide the subsidies due to unspecified inspection issues at the cooperative.

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Electricity shortage

On August 3, Isla Mocha ran out of fuel. On August 4, the island was supposed to receive a diesel shipment from Tirúa town but the vessel capsized due to strong winds and high tides. Crew members were rescued and environmental damage avoided, however.

After DYM’s letter was published, the regional government and the company reached an agreement under which this year’s debt will be paid within 60 days and last year’s 45-60 days after that.

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