The Elmar Press Conference

Listening to our American guests presenting their findings on our power system, was an exercise in futility. They did not say anything, we did not know. After 15 minutes, they experienced a power outage, and everyone remained seated, struck by the irony.

The grid made its presence known and voiced its dissatisfaction.

These nice and polite experts with MPR, are technical people, they are not organizational experts. So, they see things from a technical perspective, and offer technical solutions.

But the root problem here, is different. The root problem at Elmar is the way it is organized and governed. The experts presented solid observations, but they did not understand what they were looking at.

They were looking at a company set up to serve the government, not the consumer, not the country, and they cannot understand that. They heard the music, but they didn’t know where it was coming from.

The culprit is maintenance, they said, as if we didn’t know.

I could have told them that, but lack of maintenance is the result of the system.

In principle, the main goal of Elmar should be managing and supporting the network capacity for the island’s growing demand. This requires organized asset management, as a primary task. But Elmar is not set up for that because dividends are pumped to the owners, GOA, who need the cash to burn on salaries.

We’ve had expensive Dutch consultants, and expensive American consultants before, they come, they go, they get paid, nothing changes, consumers are left to pay the bills.

If we keep doing, or not doing, the same things we keep getting the same results.

The frequent power outages, on average nine a month, are symptoms of this dysfunctional national energy organization.

Elmar is not capable of simple preventive maintenance of existing equipment, it fails to organize capacity adjustments. It is slow to change energy sources and makes the installation of solar panels difficult. Does it even think about the future to prepare for a different energy landscape?

The holy trinity of Utilities-WEB-Elmar is based on central carbon generation and distribution monopoly, with a focus on generating dividends for an expensive and wasteful GOA.

And the consumers are the holy trinity’s hostages, stuck with high utility bills.


Where is our politically independent national energy board, tasked with designing our national energy strategy for the coming 20 years, making sure all generated dividends stay in the energy chain of Aruba.


We will be served a much better energy product, and the organizations involved would be working together optimally, generating, and distributing, lowering emission, with plenty of funds for maintenance, spare parts, materials, and equipment.

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May 30, 2024
Rona Coster