Utility rate hikes frozen by ruling from Sala IV

The nation’s price regulator has its hands tied because of a Sala IV constitutional court ruling.

The head of the Authoridad Reguladora de Servicios Públicos, Dennis Meléndez Howell, complained Wednesday that some 31 price adjustments are pending. He predicted an avalanche of price increases once the legal situation is resolved.

The Sala IV ruled Sept. 29 that final rate decisions could not be made. The process under which the agency determines rates is being challenged.

The agency said that there are 17 pending increases for bus services. There also is one for Correos de Costa Rica S.A., the postal service.

The pending increases with broad implications include seven for electricity and four for fuel. There also are rate increases pending for Puerto Caldera and Puerto Limón dock services

The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad seeks an 18 percent increase in the rate for generating power, 24 percent for transmission and 33 percent for street lighting. One electrical cooperative seeks two increases, and the Empresa de Servicios Públicos de Heredia seeks one.

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