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Colombian power plants bombed

The 75MW Bajo Achicaya hydroelectric plant owned by Colombia’s Empresa de Energia del Pacifico (EPSA) in eastern Valle del Cauca, Colombia, stopped generating electricity after FARC rebels bombed the control. According to an EPSA spokeswoman the system could have been brought back on-line within 48 hours, but remained closed as the safety of operational personnel was a concern.

The FARC has carried out two further bomb attacks on a transmission line that transported power from the Bajo Achicaya plant. The bombing of the two power transmission towers forced the 365MW Alto and 75MW Bajo Anchicaya hydroelectric installations to be disconnected from the national grid.

Meanwhile, the confrontation at EPSA’s 285MW Salvajina hydroelectric plant, which was taken over by the FARC rebels in Valle del Cauca, has ended after the rebels abandoned the plant. The Salvajina hydro plant is located 50km south of Cali, the capital of Valle del Cauca.

EPSA said that the reason for the attacks could be attributable to an agreement both groups made in September 1999 to end the five-day rebel takeover of the Alto Anchicaya plant. The takeover in September was a protest against high electricity rates.