Medellin-based utility company EPM has announced that Blanca Liliana Ruiz Arroyave will head Afinia (also known as CaribeMar), the new utility subsidiary on Colombia’s Caribbean coast created out of the remains of ElectriCaribe, which was liquidated by the national government. Afinia, headquartered in Cartagena, Bolivar will provide electricity in the departments of Bolivar, Cesar, Córdoba, Sucre, and part of the Magdalena department.
Ruíz hails from Antioquia and studied economics at the University of Medellín, economic policy at the University of Antioquia, and Finance at EAFIT University. She has spent the last 24 years of her career at EPM, where she has held multiple posts including Director of Energy Regulation, and Executive Vice President of Business Management.
“I take on this challenge of running Afinia, a subsidiary of Grupo EPM inspired by people and for people. Together with all the company’s officials, we are going to work to make this desire to gradually improve the provision of energy service come true with quality, continuity and coverage and add to the quality of life of at least six million people, to whom I thank for allowing us to enter their homes,” said Ruiz (pictured above).
Of the remnants of ElectriCaribe, EPM took over the southwestern portion, and CaribeSol, comprising the cities of Barranquilla, Santa Marta and the surrounding areas, is being acquired by other investors. Unlike in Colombia’s major cities of Medellín & Bogotá, electricity service along Colombia’s Caribbean coast has suffered from poor service, a lack of infrastructure investment, and unreliability.
Afinia needs extensive investment to upgrade its electrical grid, distributions & services. To make the deal happen, the Colombian national government assumed significant costs and liabilities including over $500 million USD in pension liabilities, over $1 billion USD in power purchase and cost credit obligations, as well as funding almost a quarter billion USD in infrastructure improvements. Beyond this, EPM is committed to investing $2 billion USD over the next decade.