San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica to see electricity bill rise 15 percent

The Public Services Regulatory Authority, ARESEP, approved a 15 percent raise in electricity rates that would take effect in January.

The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) originally requested late last month a hike of more than 40 percent, citing operating costs and the need to guarantee the purchase of geothermal fuel as the main reasons.

ICE also mentioned preventing blackouts during the upcoming warm months as another reason to increase electricity rates next month.

For a family that spends about ¢25,000 (about $46) a month in electricity, the increase would amount to about ¢4,280 ($8), according to ARESEP.

About 90 percent of the energy generated comes from renewable sources, such as water, geothermal, wind and biomass, which allow the country to have more favorable prices in the energy sector compared to other Central American nations.

It is estimated that for 2009, inflation would be about 10 percent and the colón would lose 4.5 percent of its value. Those factors, ICE said, increase the cost of operations.

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