In the News from Panama

New Deal Cuts Energy Costs for Ocean Club Owners

By Duncan McGowan

The association representing homeowners in The Ocean Club (formerly the Trump Ocean Club) has announced a new deal with an energy provider, which “will result in a substantial reduction in energy costs” for owners, according to a statement posted on the homeowner’s association Facebook page.

Celsia, the second largest electricity generator in Panama, will be the new supplier for the Ocean Club, the iconic sail-like building on the Punta Pacifica waterfront. For the owners of 1,114 condo units, the deal will mean another cut in fees.

“The reduction of the cost of energy will allow P.H. TOC to reduce both monthly administration fees and the billings for electricity,” the association said.

The announcement is the latest in a series of good news for owners since owners took over control of the association from Trump management in 2015. In 2017, association fees were slashed by 13 percent. In July, the J.W. Marriott took over operations of the hotel, providing a huge boost to the building. And then two days later homeowners received word that the association would pay out $626,000 to owners, “as a result of the improved financial condition and cash position” of the group.

The directors of the P.H. TOC have been studying energy costs and working on the deal for several months, according to the statement. Power will still be delivered by Union Fenosa, the current distributor, using infrastructure connected to the same power grid used by Celsia.

The new deal will likely take approximately four to six months to gain “final regulatory approval” and to implement, before owners start to see the economic benefits, according to the P.H. TOC, which represents all the components of the building—residential, office, hotel, casino and retail.

The electrical costs for Ocean Club and its owners total about $4.2 million a year. The new deal should result in “significant” savings of “several hundred thousand dollars a year,” Griselda L Perez, president and legal representative of P.H. TOC, told directors.