chapter  8
The Private Colombian Utilities at Bay
WithRené De La Pedraja
Pages 12

In the provinces, the most successful private utility was the Bucaramanga Electric Company under careful administration by the Paillie family, but again mistaken policies of the provincial and national governments threatened its great promise. Ownership by private Colombian investors characterized a second type of utility. The spectacle of the utility company wallowing in riches while the country sank deeper into ruin powerfully impressed the public, and indeed the Colombian government had been handed a unique opportunity to take decisive action that would have momentous long-term effects. A major reason why the city government had bought shares in 1927 was to keep the utility under Colombian control. The replacement of most private Colombian investors by the foreign companies meant that the Samper family, in order to retain control, had to accede to many unsound petitions from the city council, in particular to rate reductions, as in 1941 and 1942.