Stable fuel prices expected next year will come with lower electricity rates as the Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) on Thursday dismissed an increase in rates requested by the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE). Instead, the regulator approved a 6.7 percent cut that will enter into force in January.
ARESEP ruled on the decrease by rejecting ₡88 billion ($163 million) in expenses reported by ICE to justify its request, among them ₡11.1 billion ($20 million) in benefits for ICE employees that the regulator considered “unjustified expenses.”
The new rates follow a downward trend in electricity rates recorded since the third quarter of 2014, and will benefit ICE’s 739,000 customers across the country, most of them outside of the Central Valley.
ARESEP estimates that electricity rates next year will be kept in check thanks to an expected reduction in the use of thermal plants to generate electricity. The regulator expects thermal generation in 2016 to be 10 times lower than in 2014, meaning ICE will buy up to 22 times less fuel than it did last year.
This year, the country went a record 255 days using purely renewable energy, according to the presidency.
With the new approved rates, a family with an average monthly consumption of 250 kilowatt/hour will see its January bill drop ₡870 — about $1.60 — to ₡23,350 ($43.35), ARESEP said. Save that up over a year, and you might be able to buy a nice lunch for two — unless the rates go up unexpectedly in 2016.