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QCOSTARICA — Starting July 1, the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) – Costa Rica’s state power and light company – will make prepaid electric service available to its residential customers with AMI smart meter installed.

Similar to prepaid cellular telephone service, consumers can purchase energy in advance according to the particular needs of each home.

Prepayment allows the user to manage, monitor, and adjust consumption. The change to this service was defined in two modalities: voluntary, where the client requests the transfer to prepaid service and mandatory for customers who are habitually late in payment or in cases of fraud or alterations to the meter.

For voluntary transfer, before submitting the application, the consumer must verify that they are current in payment. Subsequently, ICE will apply the balance of the guarantee deposit for the traditional service and prepayment will be activated.

If three consecutive months accumulate without feeding the account, the service will be disconnected and to return to traditional post pay service, the consumer must wait, at least, a period of six months. Reconnection will be applied remotely and automatically, without additional costs.

On the other hand, in cases of late payment resulting in at least four suspensions in the last 12 months, the client must reach a payment arrangement for any outstanding balance powers to be transferred and may return to the traditional modality after 18 months in prepaid.

The rate does not vary between the traditional and postpaid, both in voluntary change and due to late payments.

The minimum recharge amount is ¢3,000 colones (approximately 22 kWh) and the maximum is ¢25,000; The balance does not expire at the end of the month. On the first day of each month, ¢3,000 will be reduced as a fixed charge. ICE will issue a monthly statement with the consumption record. When the balance is consumed, the service will be disconnected.

Customers who cannot opt ​​for the prepaid electricity service are:

Services with electricity consumption greater than 2,000 kWh per month.
Distributed generation services.
Oxygen dependent services.
Services at hourly residential rate.
Services with commercial and industrial rates.
The prepaid electricity service was established in resolution RE-004-IE-2023, published in Alcance No. 95, of La Gaceta No. 92.

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