Changing Habits and the Electricity Market

Due to changes in people's habits, energy consumption in commercial establishments, offices and industrial complexes has decreased, contrasting with the rise in demand in residential areas.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

The quarantines and restrictions on mobility that Central America has experienced due to the covid-19 outbreak and the latent risk of contagion, has caused radical changes in the region's electricity market.

In Costa Rica, for example, in the first eight months of the year, considerable drops in energy sales to the industrial and commercial sectors were reported. Companies such as the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE), the National Power and Light Company (CNFL), Coopeguanacaste, the Heredia Public Service Company (ESPH), the San Carlos Rural Electrification Cooperative (Coopelesca) and the Cartago Electric Service Administrative Board (Jasec) have recorded declines.

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Carlos Murillo, Coopelesca's Manager of Associate Services, explained to Nacion.com that "... the effect on income is approximately 10%, especially considering the effect on tourism and commerce, which had a significant decrease."

According to Murillo "... the drop in sales forced them to reduce investments for improvements in the network, maintenance and new electrical works, and could have consequences on the attention to the continuity and quality of the equipment."

In contrast to this decline, data from the Regulatory Authority of Public Services (Aresep) states that from January to August of this year ICE, CNFL, Jasec, ESPH and Coopelesca, have increased their electricity sales in residential areas. This phenomenon is explained by the preference of people to stay longer in their homes.

Costa Rica is not the only country in the region where this phenomenon has been reported, since according to reports from the General Comptroller of the Republic of Panama, in this scenario of changing population habits, in the local market during the first eight months of the year the demand for electricity from homes amounted to 2,207 million kwh, an amount 6% higher than that reported for the same period in 2019.

Reports show that consumption in commercial establishments fell by 26%, from 2,628 million kWh to 1,936 million kWh, for the periods in question. In the case of industry consumption decreased by 29%.



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