NRECA International has been working in Guatemala for more than 30 years providing ongoing support to develop a sustainable, reliable and affordable supply of electricity to many rural communities.
In 2011, the first the first large group of volunteers from multiple electric co-ops traveled to Guatemala, marking the beginning of our popular member-sponsored volunteer program. After the pandemic forced a two-year hiatus, the program was relaunched in 2022. From 2018-2023, 285 volunteer lineworkers have brought electricity access to more than 7,000 people in rural communities. In addition to helping build, upgrade, and extend power lines, America’s electric co-ops have donated more than $1 million of funds for electrification projects in recent years to help remote community energy systems.
National rural electrification planning
In 2023, NRECA International teamed up with the MRC Group based in Spain, to support the Government of Guatemala to increase rural electricity access in Guatemala. Funded by the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Sector Program, NRECA International will conduct a geospatial planning analysis, and develop a least cost electrification plan. The team also will provide a preliminary design of mini grids for selected rural communities.
Creating Electric Cooperatives
In 2016, NRECA International supported two isolated utilities in Huehuetenango and Alta Verapaz to organize themselves as electric cooperatives, to better address community electricity needs and improve economic production in agricultural and other enterprises.
In 2013, the team helped two municipalities strengthen business practices and technical capacity of their utility operations. The goal was to help create a sustainable utility so they can provide their communities reliable electric service at reasonable prices.
In Guatemala, municipal electric utilities are created by municipal authorities to meet community energy/electricity needs. These municipal utilities have grown and have a significant presence in the electricity market in Guatemala. An essential step towards improving performance at these utilities is the need to disentangle political influence from the municipal government and their impact on these utilities.
To ensure that the electric municipal utilities can improve their performance and meet their communities’ energy needs, NRECA International designed a plan to:
Strengthen administrative structures and support professional development in each participating municipal utility.
Evaluate distribution system improvements and design improvement programs.
Conduct a customer census to update existing customer information.
With continued technical assistance from NRECA International, municipal utilities from San Pedro, Ixcan and Jalapa moved forward with strengthening or establishing independent electric utilities. NRECA International provided training to develop necessary skills, improve transparency of governance, and improve utility financial and technical performance.
America’s electric cooperatives