NRECA International has been active in cooperative and rural electrification development in Costa Rica since 1963. There are currently four electric cooperatives in Costa Rica representing approximately 15 percent of the total electric distribution market in the country and roughly 40 percent of the rural-area service. The four cooperatives are completely self-sustaining, earn margins on their operations and are continually expanding their scope and range of consumer services into telecommunications and other areas.
In 1989, NRECA International assisted the co-ops in forming a common-services consortium, CONELECTRICAS, which on behalf of its members is involved in power generation investment and operations, strategic services and policy advocacy and various technical services.
In 2010, NRECA International assisted CONELECTRICAS and the co-ops in preparing a strategic review and plan to cope with new challenges facing the co-ops in the technical, environmental and legislative arenas.
Two of the electric co-ops—Coopelesca and Coopeguanaste — have been technology leaders in Central America. Most recently both co-ops joined the Smart Grid Alliance for the Americas and shared experiences of smart grid applications with the U.S. rural electric cooperative community and Latin American partner utilities. This innovative partnership was managed by NRECA International, and funded by the U.S. State Department Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs under the Energy and Climate Change Partnership of the Americas.
The co-ops in Costa Rica have benefited greatly from the expertise of volunteer power linemen and other staff from NRECA’s members, the U.S.-based rural electric co-ops. Recruited and managed by NRECA International, these volunteers continue to strengthen their relationships with these co-ops to build and upgrade power lines, offer training and mentor local staff on how to successfully run a utility.
- United States Agency for International Development
- United States State Department Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs