Opposition revives plan to raise private electricity production

Change of power in Congress allows project resurrect buried by Solis

May 21st,2015

The block of six opposition benches, which dominates Congress since May 1, revive the idea of ​​raising the participation of private companies in electricity generation in the country.

Lawmakers raised break the current ceiling of the private contribution, fixed at a maximum of 15% of national production, according to Law No. 7200.

The proposal is one of the commitments that joined the deputies of the National Liberation Party (PLN), Social Christian Unity (PUSC), Libertarian Movement, National Restoration, Renovation and Costa Rican Christian Democratic Alliance parties to bring the Citizen Action Party (PAC) control of Congress.

With the dominance of the Board and of the legislative committees, the opposition bloc may now reopen the discussion on the increase in private power generation, an issue that the government of Luis Guillermo Solis buried during his first year as unnecessary.

Liberationist deputy for Antonio Alvarez Desanti, private participation could even go beyond the 30% proposed by the administration of Laura Chinchilla in the proposed electric contingency, which also advanced in Congress.

Commitment. "In the election campaign, almost all groups, excluding the Frente Amplio, spoke of the urgent need to reduce electricity tariffs (...). One of the most serious problems facing Costa Rica is the cost of electricity , "Alvarez complained.

According to the legislator, the price of energy is one of the factors that drive away private investment, which negatively impacts employment, therefore, in the first quarter of this year, 10.1% of the economically active population is unemployed.

The head of the libertarian Otto Guevara, said the proposal for greater private involvement could run either a new project or recovering the record of eight volumes called law of Electrical contingency (18,093) resting in the Committee on Affairs agricultural.

Although the issue came under discussion during the administration of Oscar Arias (2006-2010) and Laura Chinchilla (2010-2014), it was ruled by the current government during a hearing of the now former Minister of the Presidency, Melvin Jimenez to Agricultural Affairs Commission .

On that occasion, both Jiménez as president of ICE, Carlos Obregon, said that the project was not necessary. Yesterday, before a consultation of the Nation, the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) reaffirmed its position that it is not necessary to open the market.

The manager of the ICE, Luis Pacheco, said the Electricity Expansion Plan has covered the need of the country until 2035.

"With the evolution of domestic demand and the real opportunities of the Regional Electricity Market (selling energy between Central American countries) is adequately meets under expansion plan is underway and expected the country's needs until 2035, "Pacheco said.

Today, the Institute generates 74% of electricity in the country; 15% private companies and 11% electric cooperatives and municipal utilities.

Read more: "La Nación"


Energy distributors complain to President Solis for actions of ARESEP

Camera ensures that regulatory authority 'overstepping' its functions

Companies agreed to demand ARESEP at Dispute Court by differences

May 07th,2015

The House Energy Distribution Companies and Telecommunications (CEDET), complained to President Luis Guillermo Solis for the actions of the Public Services Regulatory Authority (Aresep) on issues related to distributed generation and the impact of user fees .

In a sustained Wednesday meeting with the president, Allan Benavides, president of CEDET and chief of the Public Service Company of Heredia (ESPH) he noted a concern as to their discretion the regulatory authority has 'gone too far' in their duties.

"We are concerned that ARESEP has exceeded its functions and by simple rules we have tried to rank public service distributed generation (eg, solar, wind, small-scale) and even he is handling fee sales at times superior to private generation rates and the cost of own energy of some power distribution companies, "said Benavides, through an official gazette.

Benavides said that this means that by 'mandate' of ARESEP would have to buy surplus distributed generation at a more expensive price of produce, "to the detriment of tariffs for all our users," he defended.

CEDET made clear its support for the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) against the regulator, as this portfolio is the position that distributed generation is not a public service and should only regulate certain technical aspects.

The camera went further and said the president not share some recent decisions by ARESEP and accused of, under his perspective, companies want to weaken distributed generation.

"ARESEP began last year regulatory reform, which seeks to open up the market without a law, that being a strategy that was used in the past in other countries. Regulatory reform is to financially weaken the distribution companies by forcing them to take technical standards supposedly unnecessary costs, while at the level of methodologies tariff revenues fall, leaving a financing gap "claimed Benavides.

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Minae want to assume the permissions for use of solar energy consumption

April 24th, 2015

Minister of Environment and Energy (MINAE), Edgar Gutiérrez requested the Public Services Regulatory Authority (Aresep) to decide soon the request for clarification of the term of concession regarding solar generation project consumption.

"The rule is, what we have here is a stranded ARESEP interpretation. The term concession has a strong legal involvement, which makes the consumption within this scheme is not viable. So, what we are saying is that instead of granting it a permit, "he said.

According to the Minister, if the regulator defines that such consumption is not ARESEP competition, requested to be informed so that it assumes Minae.

"We occupy tell us and we begin to assume and give permission for people to start generating their own electricity consumption as a scheme. It left definition of the authorities who are competent, "he said.

The Minister said he had initially sent a note to the Board of ARESEP, in which he requested to leave in suspension Chapter 2 Standard Poasen to go forward and generating experience in the use of solar generation to consumption.

"The Board responds that do not give me sufficient technical arguments so that they can make decisions, so I sent a new note explaining why you think it should be stopped, and I have not yet received a response. So we have to solve this year without fail, we can not give long, there is a significant desire and very soon we will see in the ceilings of the house Costa Rica solar panels, "concluded Gutierrez.

Source: "La Prensa Libre"



ARESEP prohibits ESPH provide services in Santo Domingo de Heredia

The CNFL has filed seven complaints against ARESEP against ESPH

March 25th,2015

The Regulatory Authority for Public Services (Aresep) ordered the Public Service Company of Heredia (ESPH) refrain from providing the service power supply to new users in the canton of Santo Domingo de Heredia.

This measure is imposed as a precautionary measure until the conflict of territorial competition managed by the National Power and Light Company (CNFL) is resolved.

The CNFL has filed seven complaints against ARESEP against ESPH for alleged anticompetitive practices.

The Regulatory Authority also ordered the opening of a regular administrative procedure to resolve this conflict and reserved "to be assessed once it is resolved" the requirement to apply CNFL ESPH appropriate penalties "for not providing authorized public service and anti-competitive practices ".

Source: 'La Nación'


Comptroller investigate losses in water plant CNFL

The company also will review whether there were irregularities in the implementation of the work

April 30th,2015

Determine causes and responsible for losses in Balsa Inferior Hydroelectric Project, National Power and Light Company (CNFL), will be the target of an investigation requested by the Comptroller General of the Republic (CGR).

The request to the comptroller was approved Tuesday night on a motion of the Supervisory Board of Revenue and Public Expenditure Congress.

By law, the CGR should abide by the legislative body.

Implementation of the project, which is located in San Ramon de Alajuela, recorded losses of $ 64 million, without even have been opened.

In addition, the cost of the work grew and its current value is 3.5 times higher than the $ 93 million that were estimated at the beginning (in 2008).

According to the CNFL, the construction of the dam by the Brazilian consortium OAS-Engevix and the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE), would amount to $ 333.4 million.

Internal process. On Tuesday appeared before the legislative committee, the general comptroller Marta Acosta and manager and former manager of the CNFL, Victor Solis and Pablo Cob, respectively.

During his speech, Mr Solis announced that the company is also interested in clarifying what happened to Balsa Inferior, in order to determine whether there was negligence or, any irregularities in the management of resources.

"We want to do a review of all proceedings in the project, the acts that there have been developed and the potential liabilities that may have for breach of technical, administrative and other procedures," he said.

That formed a panel to make inquiries.

Doubts. The proposal to request the intervention of the CGR came from deputy Frente Amplio, Jorge Arguedas. It was accepted unanimously.

"I think this case the Comptroller touch him to assure us that no independent judgment. Institutional commissions are usually formed by politicians and favor the government in power, "Arguedas said.

The losses in the hydroelectric scheme which would produce 37.5 megawatts, led to a financial imbalance in the coffers of the Power and Light Company, which closed 2014 with a deficit of $ 12.8 billion (about ¢ 7,000 million ).

This situation forced the company to postpone the payment of ¢ 19,000 million ICE purchasing power has since last November.

Source: 'La Nación'

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