Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Colom Says Electric Rates Should Drop

President Alvaro Colom announced that the cost of electricity would drop, starting in February. The president described this as "a responsible act of his administration." Moreover, he emphasized that the reduction in cost corresponds to the process of transformation of the electrical grid.

Carlos Meany, Minister of Energy and Mines, said that "the price of electricity for the next quarter will decrease more than 15 percent." According to Meany, the reduction in the cost of electricity is because there has been a downward trend in the price of fuel, including bunker oil, which is used in Guatemala for generation of electricity.

The majority of the decrease will be seen by users in the departments of Guatemala, Escuintla and Sacatepéquez, while the rest of the population will have a lesser reduction.

For the three month period from November 2008 to January 2009 the residential electric rate per kilowatt hour varies from Q1.25 to Q1.29 and the commercial rate from Q1.54 to Q1.85.

Colom also announced that on March 16th the first tests will be conducted on an intertie with Mexico, which will provide an additional 200 megawatts to the national electric grid and will contribute to the rate reduction.

300 Kilos of Cocaine Seized

Costa Rican security forces seized a shipment of 300 kilos of cocaine, valued at U.S. $3 million, which was hidden in the false bottom of a container headed for Guatemala. They also arrested the driver, a Guatemalan.

Initial investigations show that the action would be a serious blow to drug trafficking organizations in Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Colombia who move drugs in cargo transport units which are also loaded with products such as crackers, soap, and food, in order to mislead authorities.

The seizure took place in the capital of Costa Rica, San Jose and in the towns of Alajuela and Uruca, where the organization has wineries.