After several years of rising electricity and gas prices, Nicaraguans will be given a little bit more breathing room next month with a 10 percent decrease in electricity rates starting Nov. 1
The announcement was made Oct. 23 by David Castillo, president of government regulatory agency the Nicaraguan Energy Institute (INE). Castillo said that since international oil prices have fallen from $130 to around $60 over the past three months, INE could now afford to lower rates by 10 percent, after having raised them by 30 percent in the last year.
Nicaragua currently depends on foreign oil for some 80 percent of its electricity production. Castillo said that if prices remain in the $60 per barrel range, electricity rates could be lowered again in April.
The discount will not apply to the majority of poor Nicaraguan residents who consume less than 150 kilowatt hours a month, just as they weren’t affected last year by the price hikes.
As oil prices tumble, Nicaraguan gas pump prices have also been lowered for two consecutive weeks.
Castillo said that thanks to the government’s efforts to increase energy production in Nicaragua, the country currently has a surplus of some 50 megawatts of energy, compared to the energy deficit it was running a year ago. That surplus will prevent future blackouts, Castillo said.