San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Gov’t Changes Course On Energy Solution

The Executive Branch’s emergency solution to the nation’s energy crisis is, well, illegal.

In a rushed attempt to provide a solution after last month’s electricity rationing and blackouts, the administration of President Oscar Arias declared a state of emergency and announced plans for a decree that would speed up the purchase and construction of pending thermal plant projects (TT, Apr. 27). The plan was intended to avoid future rationings.

However, such decrees apply only in cases of natural disasters or a threat of war, according to spokeswoman Mónica Murillo of the Comptroller General’s Office.

Presidency Minister Rodrigo Arias said that instead of an emergency decree, the administration has now issued a “declaration of urgency,” a less wide-ranging declaration that need only be approved by the Comptroller General’s Office and would allow for a quicker bidding process for the plants’ construction.

The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE), which oversees production and distribution of 80% of the country’s electricity, has said Costa Rica will need an additional 200 megawatts of capacity, or about a 10% increase, to meet electricity demand by the next December-April dry season.


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