¢575 million colones is the amount the Compañia Nacional de Fuerza y Luz (CNFL), the power and light subsidiary of the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) recovered through power cuts to non-payers.

The CNFL says that is the amount (representing 92% of the outstanding amounts) that it was able to recover during the first six months of the year in a program it plans to continue on an on-going basis.

The cuts in service affected 8,270 delinquent customers, the majority being in the areas of Santa Ana, Santa Barbara, and Barva.

The next intervention that will take place in during the second week of August will be in Desamparados, Heredia, Guadalupe, and Escazú.

What are ‘megacortas’ and how do they differ from regular power cuts to delinquent accounts?

In a regular suspension of service for failure to pay the “recibo”, power cuts are made on a client basis. A CNFL crew shows up the meter of the delinquent account and cuts the service. The crew may or may not give the delinquent customer a chance to pay before the cut, if the situation permits, the crew may return later in the day and cut the service if the customer did not make the payment.

In the ‘megacortas’, CNFL crews descend on areas where many customers have outstanding payments on their electric bill. Delinquent customers are asked to first pay up, otherwise, they will have their service cut.