The creation of the WEM (‘Wholesale Electricity Market’) made it necessary to create an entity in charge of the management of the WEM and the dispatch of electricity into the SADI (Sistema Argentino de Interconexión or ‘Argentine Electricity Grid’). The duties were entrusted to CAMMESA (Compañía Administradora del Mercado Eléctrico Mayorista or ‘Argentine Wholesale Electricity Market Clearing Company’), a private company created for this purpose.
CAMMESA is in charge of:
Five groups of entities each hold 20% of the capital stock of CAMMESA. The five groups are the Argentine Government, the associations that represent the generation companies, transmission companies, distribution companies and large users.
CAMMESA is managed by a board formed by representatives of its shareholders. The board of CAMMESA is composed of ten regular and ten alternate directors. Each of the associations that represent generation companies, transmission companies, distribution companies and large users are entitled to appoint two regular and two alternate directors of CAMMESA. The other directors of CAMMESA are the Under Secretariat of Electric Energy, who is the board chairman in virtue of the delegation of the Federal Government, and an independent member, who acts as vice chairman. The decisions adopted by the board of directors require the affirmative vote of the board chairman. CAMMESA’s operating costs are financed through mandatory contributions by the WEM agents.
Generators are companies with electricity generating plants that sell output either partially or wholly through the SADI. Generators are subjected to the scheduling and dispatch rules set out in the regulations and managed by CAMMESA. Privately owned generators may also enter into direct contracts with distributors or large users. However this possibility was suspended by SE Resolution No. 95/2013, limited to the contracts executed under Energy Plus Program, and later being added those contracts executed under MAT ER according to Resolution No. 281/2017 of former Ministry of Energy and Mining.
As of December 31, 2019, Argentina had a nominal installed capacity as reported by CAMMESA of approximately 39,704 MW (+1,166 MW compared to 2018), composed by 61.8% of thermal, 27.2% of hydroelectric, 6.5% of renewable and 4.4% of nuclear. This increase was mainly due to the commissioning of renewable units under the RenovAr and MAT ER programs for 1,120 MW, including PEPE II and PEPE III (106 MW). In the thermal area, 503 MW were commissioned, mainly under former Ministry of Energy and Mining (MEyM) Res. No. 287/17, including the first phase of Genelba Plus’ expansion project (207 MW)(1).
Moreover, during 2019 there was a 5% decrease in power generation, with volumes of 130,838 GWh and 137,199 GWh, for the years 2019 and 2018, respectively, mainly due to the economic downturn.
Note: (1) The second phase of this project was commissioned on July 2, 2020, completing the expansion for a total 400 MW.
The following chart shows the evolution of power generation by source (thermal, hydroelectric, nuclear, and renewable) in GWh:
|Type of Generation||2010||2011||2012||2013||2014||2015||2016||2017||2018||2019|
|Total Generation in Argentina||112,829||118,254||124,659||128,978||129,330||134,624||136,135||136,064||137,199||130,838|
Transmission companies hold a concession to transmit electric energy from the bulk supply point to electricity distributors. The transmission activity in Argentina is subdivided into two systems: the High Voltage Transmission System (‘STEEAT’), which operates at 500 kV and transports electricity between regions, and the regional distribution system (‘STEEDT’) which operates at 132/220 kV and connects generators, distributors and large users within the same region. Transener is the only company in charge of the STEEAT, and six regional companies are located within the STEEDT (Litsa, Transnoa, Transnea, Transpa, Transba and Distrocuyo). In addition to these companies, there are also independent transmission companies that operate under a technical license provided by the STEEAT or STEEDT companies.
Transmission and distribution services are carried out through concessions. These concessions are re-distributed periodically based on a re-bidding process. Transmission companies are responsible for the operation and maintenance of their networks, but not for the expansion of the system. The transmission concessions operate under the technical, safety and reliability standards established by the ENRE (Ente Nacional Regulador de la Electricidad or ‘National Electricity Regulatory Entity’). Penalties are applied whenever a transmission concessionaire fails to meet these criteria, particularly those regarding outages and grid downtime. Generators can only build lines to connect to the grid, or directly to customers. Users pay for new transmission capacity undertaken by them or on their behalf. A public hearing process for these projects is conducted by the ENRE, which issues a ‘Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity’. Transmission or distribution networks connected to an integrated system must provide open access to third parties under a regulated toll system unless there is a capacity constraint.
Distributors are companies holding a concession to distribute electricity to consumers. Distributors are required to supply any and all demand of electricity in their exclusive areas of concession, at prices (tariffs) and conditions set in regulation. Penalties for non-supply are included in the concessions agreements. The three distribution companies divested from SEGBA (Edenor, Edesur and Edelap) represent more than 40% of the electricity market in Argentina. Only a few distribution companies (i.e., Empresa Provincial de Energía de Córdoba, Empresa de Energía de Santa Fé, and Energía de Misiones) remain in the hands of the provincial governments and cooperatives. Edelap has been transferred to the jurisdiction of the Province of Buenos Aires. Moreover, in March 2019, the Federal Government executed an agreement with the province of Buenos Aires and the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires for the transfer of Edenor and Edesur, still pending of completion.
Each distributor supplies electricity and operates the electricity distribution network in a specific geographical area under a concession. Each concession determines, among others, the concession area, the quality of service required, the tariffs to be paid by consumers, and the extent of the obligation to meet the demand.
The ENRE monitors the compliance of the distributors at the federal level, and provides a mechanism for public hearings in which complaints against distributors can be heard and resolved. In addition, the provincial regulatory bodies control the compliance of the local distributors with their respective concessions and local regulatory frameworks.
The provincial authorities and the ENRE control the fulfillment of the concession agreements of these public services in the provinces. Many provincial governments that have launched reforms in the electricity sector have followed the terms and conditions of the concessions used for the distribution of public services at the national level.
The wholesale electricity market classifies large users of energy into three categories: (1) Grandes Usuarios Mayores (Major Large Users or ‘GUMAs’), (2) Grandes Usuarios Menores (Minor Large Users or ‘GUMEs’) and (3) Grandes Usuarios Particulares (Particular Large Users or ‘GUPAs’).
Each of these categories of users has different requirements with respect to purchases of their energy demand. For example, GUMAs are required to purchase 50% of their demand through supply contracts and the remainder in the spot market, while GUMEs and GUPAs are required to purchase all of their demand through supply contracts.
Large users participate in CAMMESA by appointing two acting and two alternate directors through the Asociación de Grandes Usuarios de Energía Eléctrica de la República Argentina (‘Argentine Association of Electric Power Large Users’ or AGUEERA).