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Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM)

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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on global corporations.

Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM)
Founded 1955
Industry Public Utility Service Company
Website http://www.eeppm.com

Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM) has several different facets to the company including water, energy, and natural gas. It was founded in 1955 and is property of the city of Medellín. EPM is the largest company of its kind in Colombia. It is also the 9th biggest company based on income, and the company with the second-most assets after Ecopetrol.

Contact Information

Email: eeppm@eeppm.com

Company History

Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM) is a company based in the municipal of Medellín and was founded in 1955. However, the prior public services, in organized form, rose from the past century: aqueducts since 1888 (consolidated services eventually in the Company of Aqueducts), telephone since 1891 (followed by the Telephone Company of Medellín in 1914), and electricity since 1895 (Antioqueña Company of Electric Installations). During the first two decades of the 20th century, several extile companies were founded that were the basis of the industrial development in the city (Coltejer, Fabricato, Reosellón). Gradually, the city passed its dependency on this sector, relegated aside the mine and coffee.

In 1920, the Public Municipal Company was formed, that included the electric tramcar (1921), the municipal slaughterhouse and the marketplace. Between 1954 and 1955 the company handed over its assets in water, telephone and electricity to an autonomous entity, by municipal order, they called it the Empresas Públicas de Medellín (Public Company of Medellín). The World Bank was determinative on its creation, and as a condition of granting credit, there needed to be an accounting separation for the Energy Company. In turn, the Antioqueña leadership, headed by the National Association of Industrialists (ANDI), demanded a true autonomy for the new company and the integration of the 3 basic public utilities: energy, water and telephone.

In 1957, EPM inaugurated its first headquarters in the Miguel Building of Aguinaga, in the heart of Medellín. By then the city had already reached 500,000 inhabitants with an annual growth of 30,000 people. Since that time the company has defined some of the basic principles of the cultural company:

  • Legal, financial and technical planning for its projects
  • Transparency in front of the public
  • Politics of ‘social character of the tariffs’, applying differential rates based on the economic capacity of the users, without lessening the expansion and sustainability of the services
  • A culture of loyalty and pride in its workers, translated into labor stability, spirit of service, and civic sense
  • An administration and a independent togetherness, in the majority of those outside the private sector, with high qualities and experience, uncommon to partisanships
  • Aggressive politics of service coverage in poorer neighborhoods in the city (Habilitation Dwellings Program), which then extended into the Metropolitan area. [1]

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