Public utility workers march against bill to open electricity market
An estimated 10,000 employees of the state-run Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) and local electricity cooperatives marched on Monday to persuade lawmakers to withdraw a bill they say would “privatize electricity services in Costa Rica.” Union leaders said the proposed legislation would open Costa Rica’s electricity market to private competition, which unions claim is a contradiction of the current partnership model that allows cooperatives to provide electricity to ICE.
Thousands of protesters dressed in yellow – the traditional color worn by ICE workers – marched from La Sabana Park, in western San José, to Casa Presidencial in the southeastern district of Zapote, stopping off at the Legislative Assembly in the capital’s center.
Late last year, Costa Rica’s telecommunications market was opened to private competition, and ICE workers said privatization in the electricity market could bankrupt the government institution that helped bring electricity coverage to nearly 100 percent of the country. According to a Finance Ministry report last year, ICE closed with a net loss of ₡22 billion ($43.7 million) and a rate of return of -2.1 percent.
President Laura Chinchilla said she could not predict if lawmakers would call the bill up for discussion.
You may be interested
Five things I learned while watching the sun set over El ClásicoAlejandro Zúñiga - October 22, 2018
TIBÁS — It’s difficult to enjoy a spectacular sunset while the concrete grandstand of a 50-year-old stadium shakes haphazardly under…
The Tico Times Weekly Digest: Oct. 22, 2018Alexander Villegas - October 22, 2018
It's Monday everyone. That means it's time for another dose of The Tico Times Weekly Digest. This week's Digest is…
This week in the Peace Corps: Lessons from indigenous communities in Limón provinceCrystal / Regional Peace Corps Leader - October 22, 2018
After four years with Peace Corps Costa Rica, I am reflective about living and working in indigenous communities throughout Limón…