San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Public utilities

Regulatory Authority approves lower electricity rates except for San José, Cartago residents

The Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) on Monday approved new electricity rates that mostly will benefit residents outside the Central Valley.

New rates will apply starting in April and will be up to 4.8 percent cheaper for customers of six of the country’s eight main energy suppliers.

ARESEP approved the lower rates after a year in which the country rarely had to turn to its expensive, bunker-fueled power plants to meet the country’s electricity needs. A full 99 percent of the country’s electricity demand in 2015 was generated using renewable sources, mostly hydroelectric plants, the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) reported in January.

The regulatory agency also took into account that power generation using thermal plants during the first two months of this year was 40 percent lower than previous estimations by ICE.

But not all electricity consumers will see lower bills. Customers of the National Power and Light Company (CNFL), which supplies mainly residents of the capital, San José, instead will pay 4.5 percent more on their monthly bills. And customers of the Electric Services Administrative Board of Cartago, or JASEC, will pay 0.1 percent more.

Both companies had requested significant rate hikes last year, though the hikes approved by ARESEP were smaller.

ARESEP spokeswoman Carolina Mora said that, for example, CNFL requested a 35 percent rate hike in November to cover operating costs, however the regulatory agency approved only a 18.6 percent hike.

Contact L. Arias at larias@ticotimes.net

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