The nation’s utility regulator plans a meeting Thursday to get reaction to a draft that would allow all electrical consumers to generate their own power and perhaps sell the excess to their local electric company.
Jim Ryan of ASI Power & Telemetry, S.A. said Monday that this proposal has far-reaching consequences for electrical consumers. His Liberia firm installs solar panels.
The proposal is contained in a lengthy document released by the Autoridad Reguladora de Servicios Públicos. The highly technical document specifies the requirements for hooking up to the national electrical grid.
Ryan summarized them as granting “to all Costa Rican electricity consumers, large and small, regardless of which distribution company they’re served by, the right to connect their own private generation assets to the country’s grid, assuming technical, safety and commercial standards are all satisfied.”
He noted that the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad is the only firm that now allows this in a pilot program.
He said the impact could be considerable over time by relieving small and large consumers of high priced energy, as well as taking strain off the country’s sometimes fragile transmission network.
He also predicted that the proposal, if it goes into effect, would reduce the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad’s need for petroleum for power generating. The company just spent an additional $11.2 million because it could not get cheaper bunker oil for its Garabito thermal plant and had to use more expensive diesel earlier this year.
Ryan notes that there is opposition from entrenched elements in the industry.
He has sent a message to his customers and associates encouraging them to make favorable comments to the regulating agency about the plan.
The meeting Thursday is at 5:15 p.m. Like many of the Authoridad’s public hearings, it will be carried by a video conferencing system to the courts in Limón Centro, Heredia Centro, Ciudad Quesada, Liberia Centro, Puntarenas Centro, Pérez Zeledón and Cartago Centro and to a church hall in BriBri.
The hearing will be located physically in the office of the Autoridad Reguladora in Guachipelín, Escazú.