QCOSTARICA – I come from British Columbia, where it is a given, that generation of electric power by swift moving river water (hydroelectric), is the cheapest and most efficient way to generate it.

Costa Rica, in many ways, has similar topography to B.C., with mountainous terrain in the middle of the Country, and rivers, albeit shorter and smaller than those in B.C., moving the bountiful rainfall swiftly to the coasts on either side.

It would appear that the same opportunities exist in Costa Rica for hydroelectric power generation, augmented by both “environmentally friendly” solar, geothermic, and wind generation, as might be applicable in various parts of the Country. I see no need to import expensive petroleum products from Venezuela, or elsewhere, to power thermal electric generating plants, which are currently relied upon, to, in my opinion, the detriment of the Country, both as to the costs involved and the environmental impact.

It comes with some surprise, that the current Government, in response to what I understand to be the request of ICE (Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad), otherwise known as The Independent Republic of ICE and Costa Rica’s “Public” Electric Utility so to speak, is not allowing private generators of electricity (primarily small hydroelectric operations) to sell their power on the electric grid in competition with ICE.

This arrangement of private electricity generation and sale has previously been permitted, with great success, by former Governments, particularly the Government of Jose Maria Figueres in the 1990’s. Excess power generated in this manner, beyond the requirements of Costa Rica’s needs, could be sold on the now interconnected Central American power grid, at a profit to ICE. There appears to be no “downside” to allowing this private electric power generation to take place. Imagine, ICE would no longer be able to threaten increased electric power rates based on the cost of importing petroleum products to fuel thermal generating plants.

It would appear that the decision by this Government to not allow private electricity generation and sale on the power grid to take place, is merely politically motivated, to preserve the monopolistic control of ICE over this electricity market and does not take into account the best interests of Costa Rica. Once again, Costa Rica is falling victim to the political jealousies which exist amongst the “Ruling Class”(in this case PAC versus PLN), thwarting the Country’s rightful destiny of progressing to become a First World Country.

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Richard Philps
Attorney Richard (Rick) Philps is a Canadian citizen, naturalized as a citizen of Costa Rica. Rick practiced law in Victoria, B.C., Canada as a member of the Law Society of British Columbia, for fourteen years, prior to moving to Costa Rica in 1998. Rick then earned his Bachelor of Laws and Licensing Degrees (Civil Law), with Honours, and a Post-Graduate Degree in Notary and Registry Law, from the Metropolitana Castro Carazo and Escuela Libre de Derecho Universities, in San Jose. Rick is a member of the Costa Rica College of Lawyers, and practices law in Costa Rica in the areas of real estate and development, corporate, commercial, contract, immigration, and banking with the Law Firm of Petersen & Philps, located in Escazu, a western suburb of San Jose. To contact Attorney Rick Philps about hiring him as your Costa Rican Attorney, please use the following information: Lic. Rick Philps - Attorney at Law, Petersen & Philps, San Jose, Costa Rica Tel: 506-2288-4381, Ext. 102; Email: rick@costaricacanadalaw.com Website: www.costaricacanadalaw.com