This Week in Costa Rica

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This Week in Costa Rica is a weekly, online radio program and podcast by US expat, Dan Stevens

Electricity Rates in Costa Rica

Pura Vida Energy Systems - Another New Rate Hike for Costa Rica!  Customers all over the country received higher electric bills at the end of April ranging from a 5% increase for customers of ICE to close to 20% for customers of some of the rural cooperatives.  Over the last 12 months rates from ICE have increased 24%, considerably higher than the historical average of over 14%.


Prices for electricity in Costa Rica have doubled approximately every 5 years during the last 20 years.  The average annual increase was 16.3% from 1995 to 2010 and 12.7% from 2000 to 2010.  Unfortunately, since 2010 the government was forced to begin using a bunker-fuel generator in Puntarenas to assist renewable energy production facilities in meeting the needs of the people.  Last year ICE spent close to 20% of its budget buying fossil fuels like diesel and bunker fuel for peak demand generators. Those fossil fuel purchases represented 20% of ICE’s costs but were used to produce only 7.5% of the electricity used in Costa Rica.  As this trend continues it is easy to see that the rates ICE charges will have to continue to increase just as they have.


Projections for growth indicate that by 2021 the amount of energy produced by fossil fuel generators in Costa Rica may be as high as 28%.  It is for this reason that the government is finally embracing distributed renewable energy production after many years of maintaining a strict government monopoly.  After all, if it takes 20% of the budget to make 7% of the energy then it would take 80% of the budget to make 28% of the energy.  Obviously the rest of the production facilities would still need to be maintained and operated, so the only option would be enormous rate increases to cover the extra expense.

Grid-tied solar energy production has the potential to replace those fossil fuel generators and help Costa Rica return to a 100% renewable national energy grid.  For many years the fact that 100% of the electricity used in Costa Rica was generated by renewable sources was a point of pride as well as a marketing tool for the tourism and relocation industries.  By investing in solar energy production for your home or business you can help Costa Rica meet its energy needs as it continues to grow. At the same time you can save money every month even at today’s rates while helping to slow the rate of increases for those rates in the future.

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This Week in Costa Rica is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, expressed or implied.  This Week in Costa Rica is produced by Podfly Productions, LLC and broadcast with permission by the Overseas Radio Network.