San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Electricity costs

Electricity rates to rise 19 percent in January

If you’re a client of Costa Rica’s National Power and Light Company (CNFL), prepare for a potentially big jump in your electricity bill next year. The Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) approved an increase in electricity rates which, while only half the percentage increase requested by CNFL, is still a whopping 18.6 percent.

The new rates will take effect in January and apply for a year. CNFL’s customer base encompasses most of the Greater Metropolitan Area, including San José and parts of Alajuela, Heredia and Cartago.

CNFL had submitted a request to raise basic electricity rates by 36 percent, but ARESEP found that such a big jump wasn’t justified. The regulatory agency ruled that CNFL couldn’t take into account ₡4,183 million ($7.8 million) in expenses related to its collective bargaining agreement in its rate calculation, among other disallowed expenses.

The approved figure corresponds to costs for energy the CNFL bought from the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) this year and distribution to customers.

CNFL’s administration commented on the regulatory authority’s decision in a news release, saying the firm is studying possibilities for appealing the ruling.

ARESEP Energy Manager Juan Quesada Espinoza said Tuesday that his office will continue to conduct detailed and rigorous analysis of rate adjustment requests to ensure public agencies are not including costs unrelated to the public services they provide.

Business sector rejects increase

Leaders of the Costa Rican Union of Private-Sector Chambers and Associations (UCCAEP) also said Tuesday that they plan to appeal the new rates — for the opposite reason CNFL would appeal them. The group’s president, Ronald Jiménez, said they will not remain with their arms crossed as “this unjustified increase will hit the pockets of thousands of homes and the budgets of thousands of businesses.”

Jiménez said the CNFL likely will use the 18.6 percent rate to cover increases in rates charged by its parent company, ICE, in previous months.

UCCAEP requested a full revision of the country’s energy rate-setting model, saying the current model “does not work and actually threatens to have a negative effect on job creation.”

Jiménez said business leaders are currently evaluating all legal options for challenging the rate increase, “which is nothing but evidence of general inefficiency at all Grupo ICE’s agencies, which the population ends up paying for.”

Contact L. Arias at

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“Jiménez said the CNFL likely will use the 18.6 percent rate to cover increases in rates charged by its parent company, ICE, in previous months.”

So someone needs to ask what exactly is the rate increase that ICE is charging since they are likely the culprits who are overcharging. Did ICE really raise their rates by 18.6 percent? Fair electric rates do not seem possible with a corrupt system and administration. The cost of electricity needs to be completely transparent and it certainly is not at this time.

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Bill Spears

Ok just a few months ago, it was reported that zero emissions electricity was achieved for 100 days in a row….as in renewable energy generation. It was heralded thru out the world as a great achievement. So now ICE wants a 40% increase and is granted a 20%? What part of this does not make any sense.? I thought renewable energy would save the world, save money and give back to the people of the country that adopted the profile of renewable energy.

Obviosly, yee suckers have been scammed again!

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I agree with the comments from “Survivor”.

You should have an article comparing the rates ICE charges it customers with those of CNFL.

If ICE is less than CNFL, then maybe Costa Rica should eliminate this “middle man” scenario and have ICE provide all.

I have previously read phasing out petroleum based generation would save money as well as meet environmental concerns.

Appears that Costa Rica has a history of increasing costs to the citizens rather than forcing honest accountability.

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