The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) closed last year with ¢22 billion in net losses. 63 years after its foundation, it is rumored that this state institution may be suffering the same financial problems that other institutions like the Social Security Fund (CCSS) are going through. These rumors arose from a report submitted to the Ministry of Finance indicating that the institution had a net loss of ¢389 billion in 2011.
In order to dispel rumors of bankruptcy, President Laura Chinchilla communicated with the press through a brief conference before leaving for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to the Rio +20 summit with the intention of promoting ideas to protect the tropical forests. René Castro, the Minister of Energy and the Environment, will be traveling with her along with Costa Rican Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo. The President was emphatic in saying that “ICE will not become a CCSS version two.”
Teofilo de la Torre, chief executive of ICE says that this astronomical difference in the institution’s financial data is only due to an error of interpretation by the auditor and that much of the losses recorded by ICE are directly due to the end of the telecommunications monopoly which happened last year to accommodate several foreign companies who are now operating in the country as ICE’s rivals for services like Internet and mobile telephony.
As a result, ICE´s budget is invested in customer service, retail and marketing systems: the necessary weapons to cope with foreign conglomerates. According to Mr. De La Torre, they will be able to save up to ¢80 billion, through the implementation of concrete actions that already are being executed in the institution to avoid a financial disaster. These actions include cutting costs and maximizing revenue in the purchase of materials, equipment, travel.
Some sectors believe that the financial information revealed by ICE is contradictory due to the fact that the institution is currently developing a new mega power plant named Reventazón which requires an investment of $1.4 billion financed by BCIE.
On the other hand, from 2009 on, the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) was obliged to give the government a set of frequency bands for cell-phones in order to open up the Costa Rican telecommunications market to competition. For this, the government owes ICE $7 million which have not been collected yet.
Source: Radio Reloj