Industrial chamber backs bill to cut electrical rates

Expats grumble when they have to pay the monthly electrical bill. But those in industry have bills in the thousands of dollars.

That is why Enrique Egloff, president of the  Cámara de Industrias de Costa Rica, was before a legislative committee Wednesday in support of a bill that would lower the rates. The bill in discussion would reform the law that set up the Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos, the rate regulating agency.

A summary of the bill, No. 19.644, said that since 2005 electrical rates have gone up 240 percent.

The bill would adjust the way the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad pays for its large projects, such as five giant generating plants. The company now pays $123 million on the debts assumed by constructing these projects, said the summary. The regulating agency considers these costs when rates are set.

By lengthening the payback time, the annual cost would be lower, the summary says.

Egloff told the Comisión de Asuntos Económicos that the current electrical rates are causing unemployment and having a negative effect on attracting investment to the country.

He said the major challenge of the country is to recover the competitivity lost through the electrical rates, according to an account of his appearance.

Several lawmakers seemed to agree with him.


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