Electrical utility promises lower rates for second half of year

The nation’s electrical generating company, perhaps stung by public opinion against its higher rates, said Thursday that the rates will be lower in the second half of the year.

The company, Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, has been the target of criticism from industrial leaders to housewives over rates that have soared.

The company known as ICE said that the methodology used by the regulating agency will mean lower rates. That’s because during the dry season the company relies more on expensive petroleum fuel to fire thermal generators.

With the arrival of the rainy season more electricity will be generated by the hydro projects.

The Autoridad Reguladora de Servicios Públicos sets the rates. But it uses figures provided by the electrical utility and also the world price of petroleum.

ICE is even suggesting that there might be rebates to customers. But what usually happens is that the rebates are figured into the rate. Costa Rica’s electrical tariffs are skewed to provide low-cost electricity to the poor. After a certain level, the rates become higher.

Some expats have reported that their monthly costs of electricity in their air conditioned beach home on the Pacific coast exceeded $700.

Industrial leaders have urged lawmakers to pass a proposed comprehensive law on electrical generating that would welcome more private providers.

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