Nicaragua: Electricity Price Up 3%

The new price sheet that has been in force since January establishes that consumers with residential, commercial or industrial tariffs will pay 3.28% more than in 2018.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Arguing that generation and distribution prices increased because of the "behavior of fuel prices," along with inflation reported by the local economy, the Nicaraguan Energy Institute (INE) decided to increase the electricity price.

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Contrary to INE's argument, Patricia Rodríguez, a specialist in energy issues, said that "... the wholesale purchase price is made up, above all, of the generation price and this should not rise, because the price of oil 'was close to US$50 per barrel and because last year there was an increase in renewable generation, whose variable costs are close to zero and these are the ones that weigh most on generation."

Sergio Maltez, president of the Chamber of Industries of Nicaragua, said to Elnuevodiario.com.ni that "... Nicaragua already had 'the highest industrial tariff in the Central American region, we are for 22 cents on the dollar, in the rest of the region is below 15 cents per kilowatt-hour'.

The INE's resolution, which has been in force since the beginning of the year, directs the distribution companies to apply a tariff sheet with an average selling price to the final consumer of $217.7 per megawatt hour (MWh). This amount exceeds the $211.53 MWh in force at the end of 2018.

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Since June 1, there has been a 3% increase in the average selling price to the final consumer in the country, going from the cost per megawatt of $219.8 reported in March to $226.5 from this month.

The increase was officialized in La Gaceta on June 18 and the new price per megawatt is applied to each tier that makes up the tariff sheet, which includes residential, commercial, industrial and irrigation tariffs.

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Nicaraguan companies in the industrial sector pay between $0.20 and $0.22 per kWh, while in other Central American countries the price ranges between $0.11 and $0.18 per kWh.

Data from a regional energy study by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce of the Central American Isthmus (Fecamco) reveal that for the industrial sector in Guatemala it pays the least for electricity and that of Nicaragua it assumes the highest costs in the region.

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The increase will come into effect on May 1st.

The Nicaraguan Energy Institute (INE) explained that the measure is in response to conditions imposed by the International Monetary Fund.

“The hike was signed and notified to Unión Fenosa executives through INE’s resolution 0999-04-2010”, reported Elnuevodiario.com.ni. “INE authorities reminded that rates had been ‘frozen’ since November 2009”.

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A 1.6 percent increase in electricity tariffs was approved by the Nicaraguan Energy Institute (INE).

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