The Péligre Dam on the Artibonite River, financed by a $30-million loan from the US Export-Import Bank, was opened in 1971, and the Gaillard Dam on the same river was opened in 1985. Power represented the government's top investment priority in the early 1970s, but a decade later the electricity supply was still erratic and inadequate. Most industrial plants have standby generators. In 1971, the government took over the foreign-owned electric company and established the Haitian Electrical Co. as a government enterprise. As of 1990, however, only 10% of the population had access to electricity. Total installed electrical capacity totaled 240,000 kW in 2001. Output increased from 118 million kWh in 1970 to 728 million kWh in 1998, but then dropped to 522 million kWh by 2000. Of this amount, 69% came from fossil fuels and 31% from hydropower. Electricity consumption in 2000 was 485.5 million kWh. More than half of the nation's electricity was generated by petroleum-burning plants in 1998.
Oil exploration and drilling operations have been conducted in the Plateau Central, Gonâve Island, and the Cul-de-Sac region, but there was no commercial production as of the mid-1990s. During the trade embargo on Haiti, gasoline and other petroleum products were regularly smuggled in through the Dominican Republic.