54,000 Consumers in Guanacaste Will Pay More for Electricity Due to VAT Tax

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Do you have any idea how much electricity your home consumes per month? It’s time to find out. As of July 1, 2019, consumers who use more than 280 kw/h per month will have to pay 13% in value-added tax (VAT).

The Voice of Guanacaste requested average monthly consumption numbers of bills that exceed the limit in the last year from the Costa Rican Electricity Institute and Coopeguanacaste (which serves consumers in the province).

According to the report from both entities, in Guanacaste at least 54,530 consumers use an average of more than 280 kw/h per month and will be subject to paying more for the electricity they use.

The Strengthening Public Finances Law, known better as fiscal reform, took effect in December 2018 and one of its main changes was turning the current sales tax into a VAT and expanding it to some services.

Currently, monthly residential electricity consumption is exempt up to 250 kw/h. Above that amount, a sales tax of five percent is charged to the total kw/h consumed.

For example, with the VAT tax, if you pay 30,000 colons now ($50), that rate will increase by 2,300 colons ($3.8).

En el caso del ICE, un 17% de sus 83.000 usuarios en la provincia, tendrían que pagar el impuesto. La mayoría de ellos viven en el cantón de Liberia.

In the case of ICE, 17 percent of its 83,000 users in the province could have to pay the tax. The majority of them live in Liberia.

The other electricity distributor in the province, Coopeguanacaste, said via its press department that the average of monthly benefactors that surpass the new tax is 40,444. In other words, 51 percent of the total number of consumers could be subject to the new tax as of July.

With regards to the national outlook, the reform, according to Finance Ministry calculations, will affect a minority of Costa Ricans since 76 percent (1.13 million) of homes in the country report using fewer than 280 kw/h.

Little Consumer Knowledge

Roughly 95 percent of consumers in the country aren’t aware of how much electricity they use each month, according to the VI Survey on access to, use of and satisfaction with public services in Costa Rica, drafted in 2018 Public Services Regulatory Authority (Aresep).

The results of the survey generalize for all the distribution companies across the country and don’t differentiate by province.

Aresep says that your bill is the easiest way to determine average daily and monthly electricity consumption and adds that all consumers have the right to demand it.

According to ICE, customers can see the breakdown of their electronic invoice through a virtual invoice, which is sent monthly to each consumer with all the pertinent information.

Additionally, the institute offers a series of channels like phone number 800 ENERGÍA and 8000 ICELEC.

Coopeguanacaste says that users can request a physical bill at the company’s main offices and at its 10 branches.