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Power Outages Scheduled by ICE Across Costa Rica

The Costa Rican Electricity Institute announced that there will be power outages due to a drop in the energy reserve levels of the National Electric System (SEN). According to ICE, this is due to a critical decrease in hydroelectric flows and the non-compliance of the suppliers of the leased thermal plants to cope with the dry season.

“We have carried out all necessary efforts to avoid this condition; however, rain and wind levels were reduced to figures that we have not recorded before. As is our responsibility, we are developing a strategic, operational, and communication plan with all the System’s stakeholders,” said Roberto Quiros, ICE’s manager.

Earlier this year, ICE pointed out that the absence of rainfall and wind will have a direct impact on electricity production. Also, domestic energy demand has increased, which has put pressure on power generation.

“In its role as the country’s main electricity supplier, ICE Group assures the industrial sector and high-voltage customers, as well as hospitals and major health centers that they will have continuous service and will not be affected by this measure,” the institution assured.

However, several ICE executives have mentioned that this is also due to the institution’s poor planning in recent years. The problem was also exacerbated due to “the non-compliance of the suppliers of the thermal plants that ICE Group rented for the dry season.”

Only one of the two private thermal plants that the ICE contracted to guarantee electricity supply to the country managed to operate on a timely manner in Moin, Limon.

The other one, set up in Garabito, Puntarenas, experienced several delays. They claimed that ICE did not provide the necessary technical observations required for purchasing power cables. They also mentioned they had been told there was a ground grid, which in reality did not exist that they had to design a new one, and the location of the blocks was also changed. Lastly, there was a discrepancy between the area assigned in the plans and the area available on site for equipment installation.

In a press release, ICE reaffirmed its commitment to “continue working to minimize the impact” of power cuts.

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