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EMCALI returned to city control after years of intervention

Article - October 11, 2013
EMCALI is finally back in friendly hands. After it was intervened 13 years ago, the company started working hard to get back on track. Today, its success is proved by the government's renewed trust in it
“The intervention didn’t make sense anymore, the company has fulfilled its financial obligation. This heritage belongs to the people of Cali” said Mr. Oscar Pardo, General Manager of EMCALI. The city celebrated the return of the company to municipal hands, after 13 years of it being run by the national government.

The intervention was first decided because the company, which provides water, energy and telecommunications services for the people of the city, was broke. The financial decisions made around that time had made the company unable to provide its services. It was drowning in debt (548.815.000 Colombian pesos in expired obligations, plus over 700 million dollars of internal and external debt) and it had to be taken over by the Public Services Superintendence.
Now, as Colombia and Cali, in particular, are living some of their best years, the company too has seen the light. EMCALI is now a productive company and the debt it had with the nation has been signed to be paid in the next 10 years. “It was great news for everyone in Cali, it shows how much the government trusts the current administration”, declared Mr. Pardo.

He explains how the company he now runs used to be an example for others in the country and even in the region. Mr. Pardo wants to return EMCALI to its years of glory, but he also understands very well that it has to be done step by step: “The quality of our service is our first and foremost concern. We can’t start thinking about expanding or growing  until our service is excellent”, he says.
Of course, expansion is part of the plan –its just a more long-term kind of plan. Mr. Pardo explains that after their service is at its best, they will move EMCALI forward in other aspects. “A company that doesn’t think of growth is condemned to disappear. We want to grow in the city, the region and the whole Pacific area”, says Mr. Pardo of his future plans.

For now, EMCALI distributes and commercializes energy inside Cali and to some surrounding areas, but, as Mr. Pardo declared, “we want to have an alternative energy generation strategy, that is, we want to experiment with solar energy. When we have that platform here in Cali, we want to have the possibility of growing in the State and the Pacific region”.

But energy is just the beginning, EMCALIS’s General Manager has plans for the communications and water supply areas as well. He tells about a digital education platform that the company supports.

The platform aims to make public schools as good as private ones, says Mr. Pardo: “We are very proud of this program. We are helping generate a new teaching model based on technology. It’s not just about giving public schools tablets or internet connections, it’s about a revolution of the way kids learn. And EMCALI is the infrastructural support of that program”. 
For now, the quality of their service is a priority, in part because the people of Cali deserve the best, but also because EMCALI has a great responsibility in the recently signed Pacific Alliance.

The Alliance was signed between Chile, Peru, Mexico and Colombia and its goal is to develop free trade and economic integration between the four countries, with an orientation towards Asia. “We have been called to support the alliance. Cali’s public services have to be excellent so that any company from the Pacific Alliance, be it from the American or the Asian group, can be assured that competitiveness factors are top notch”, explains Mr. Pardo.
The second concern on his list is the human resources the company handles. “We need to strengthen our human capacities. An organization is made of people. If those people are motivated and good at their jobs, anything can be accomplished” says Mr. Pardo. He has been General Manager of EMCALI for almost two months and he has discovered the pleasant surprise that the people under him are quite capable: “There is a lot of potential.

There are many good, hard working, capable employees. In EMCALI, I have found innovative people that just needed the space to spread their wings”, says a proud Mr. Pardo. 


James P. Barger
11/10/2013  |  13:03
100% of 1

This is great news for the city, i hope it goes well.