(MENAFN - AFP) Bolivian President Evo Morales on Saturday announced the nationalization of electrical utilities owned by Spanish company Iberdrola -- yet another expropriation by the populist leader of South America's poorest nation.
Morales announced a decree targeting Iberdrola-owned utilities in the cities of La Paz and Oruro. They are called Electropaz and Elfeo, respectively.
It was the latest in a series of such seizures by the outspoken leftist who is a key member of a group of populist South American presidents led by the now-ailing Hugo Chavez of Venezuela
Back in May Morales nationalized a subsidiary of another Spanish power group, Red Electrica Corporacion.
This time, Morales said he was acting because Iberdrola charged more for electricity in rural areas than it did in cities, and service was also uneven.
"We are forced to take this measure so that utility rates will be uniform" and service will be of the same quality in the country as in urban areas, the president said at a ceremony at the presidential palace.
Since coming to power in January 2006, Bolivia's first president representing the country's indigenous majority has nationalized the country's oil wealth and smelters, in addition to electric power companies.
He has also nationalized refineries and telecommunications companies.