As part of the reform of the electrical sector in Argentina, the provincial electricity markets were divided into centralized and dispersed sectors. Each sector has its own structure, its own mission and its own operational form. Then, the program to supply electricity to the rural and dispersed population of Argentina (PAEPRA for its name in Spanish) was established by the government in 1994. This program has the goal of providing electricity to 1.4 million people not yet served by the grid, and to electrify around 6000 public services, all this in areas where the low population density and the long distance to the electric grid makes it too costly to supply electricity by conventional means . PAEPRA operates at the provincial level through concessions to private companies bound by contract to provide electricity services under the supervision and control of the provincial electricity regulatory body . Provincial concessions are awarded through a public bidding process, in which the winning company is the one that requests the least amount of subsidy money, on a per customer basis, to operate.
After a period of stagnation, the PAEPRA program is now operational through the PERMER project of the national Energy Secretariat, launched in the year 2000 with funding from the GEF and the World Bank, complemented with funds from the provincial governments, the concessionaires and the users. This new project has the overall objective of supplying electricity to 70 000 rural households and 1100 communal installations, by means of grid extensions and off-grid installations, including PV, wind and micro-hydro facilities. Currently, around 3500 solar home systems plus 620 communal services, mainly schools, have been installed in 15 participating provinces. The implementation process includes establishing collaboration agreements between the provinces and the federal government, implementing contracts between the provincial government and the regional concessionaire, and carrying out market surveys to define the scope and structure of the concession. Currently the province of Jujuy is ahead of the rest in the number of systems installed (1500 SHS and 400 schools). Installation of individual SHS carries a subsidy to cover part of the initial system cost. This subsidy complements the funds collected from the user under a fee-for-service scheme. Other provinces are currently in the early stages of project implementation.