Aresep’s delay in regulating clean energy leaves million-dollar losses in that sector.

This sector has not received responses from Aresep for three months, a wait that caused a 39% drop in its sales of solar panels and violates the National Decarbonization Plan.

The Public Services Regulatory Authority (Aresep) has a delay of three months in the delivery to define the methodologies and tariff settings necessary for the Law for the promotion and regulation of energy resources distributed from renewable sources, signed in January 2022 , enter into operation.

This delay has generated losses of up to ₡1,500 million in the market dedicated to the sale of renewables, this is confirmed when the figures for the first quarter of 2023 are compared with the same period of the previous year.

The Chamber of Distributed Generation (CGD) made a call through its social networks to Aresep to move forward with the fulfillment of the obligations attributed to it so that the Law can come into force in favor of consumers and the national effort towards sustainability.

This situation interferes with the fourth objective of the National Decarbonization Plan, which aims to consolidate a national electrical system capable of supplying and managing renewable energy at a competitive cost for users. One of the goals of the Plan for 2030 is for the country’s electrical matrix to operate 100% with renewable energy.

William Villalobos, executive director of the CGD, commented through a video published on the Chamber’s social networks that they see “with great concern that Aresep has not been proactive and diligent to achieve these methodologies in time.” consulted: the Aresep press department about this situation, and they confirmed that, after more than a year, they are still in the process of developing the methodologies and tariff settings, which must then be approved by the board of directors.

It should be noted that Aresep had an original deadline of 12 months to deliver the methodology, but that period expired three months ago, so the renewable sector has now been without the necessary methodology for 15 months.

Likewise, the entity assured that it expects this process to be completed during the first half of the year, although it did not provide further details on how it is working to expedite its development.

“Of course, we agree on the generation of this type of energy, as well as responsible purchasing and the obligation for companies to develop these processes,” commented Carolina Mora, communications manager at Aresep.

Alberto Rodríguez, coordinator of the technical safety committee of the CDG and CEO of the company GoSolar, one of the main companies in the industry in the country, argues that, by not having a complete legal framework, consumers are limited to systems that do not inject energy to the grid , so they are not taking advantage of the benefits that the law itself grants.

Furthermore, he highlights that this situation generates uncertainty in the market and makes the work of distributors and solar companies difficult, which cannot plan their projects properly because “they are not clear about the rules of the game.”

“Due to this, the market has been exposed to the loss of hundreds of clients who cannot install systems with surplus shipping to the network… This implies losses in the sales of companies, as well as in the possibilities of savings of customers,” said Rodríguez.

By not enabling these rates, it is only possible to offer strict self-consumption systems, which are smaller, generate less savings and reduce customers’ opportunities to save on the service.

“No one really benefits from this legislative impasse, we all lose, particularly private companies and end consumers,” defends Rodríguez.

According to Rodríguez and Villalobos, this Law is “neuralgic” for Costa Rica, since it allows the incorporation of a historically untapped generation source that showed favorable growth and that, at the same time, makes the country’s energy matrix more resilient.

Aresep responds:

When asked by this media about the delay, Daniel Fernández, director of the Aresep Regulatory Development Center, responded by indicating that, “from the beginning, the 12-month period seemed short to us” and attributes the waiting time to the fact that that this regulation goes hand in hand with a public hearing, so it depends on a process of citizen participation.

Another important aspect that stood out is that the previous regulation should have been approved in July 2022, but was not finalized until February 2023 and, therefore, Fernández explained, the process could not move forward without having the document to know how could affect developing regulations.