Electrical checks to have a Sanitary Operating Permit.

Recently, the different offices of the Ministry of Health began to request Electrical Verification Certifications for the renewal of Sanitary Operating Permits (PSF) that most establishments require to operate legally.

Said requirement is based on article 13 of the General Regulation for Sanitary Operating Authorizations and Permits Granted by the Ministry of Health , the implications of which we will see below:

What is an Electrical Verification Certificate?

It is a document that shows that a verification of the electrical installations was carried out in a building and it was confirmed that they comply with the standards established in the Electrical Code.

For its part, the Electrical Code is a standard issued by the National Fire Protection Association of the United States and was adopted by Costa Rica as an official standard, through Decree 36979-MEIC .

What establishments require this certificate to renew the PSF?

In general, it is required by establishments that have dangerous areas or have the capacity to accommodate more than 100 people.

The specific list of premises that, according to the Ministry of Health, must have said requirement, is made up of those establishments that appear marked with an asterisk in Annex 1 of the General Regulations for Sanitary Operating Authorizations and Permits Granted by the Ministry of Health .

Who can perform the electrical checks?

The verification can only be carried out by professionals who are accredited for this purpose by the Federated College of Engineers and Architects (CFIA) and must be a person other than the one who built the electrical installations to be evaluated. ´

A reliable team must be selected for these verifications, since it seeks to safeguard the safety of people, to the point that if in said verification the professional determines that there is a high risk or imminent danger, the CFIA must request the electric distribution company the disconnection of the service.

At Zone Environmental Services , we have a multidisciplinary professional team that can help you with:

  1. Electrical verification by an accredited professional,
  2. Advise you on the corrections that may be necessary to obtain the certificate,
  3. Procedures before the Ministry of Health for the approval of the sanitary permit and, if necessary, presentation of corrective plans to make continuous improvements in reasonable terms without having to stop the operations of the establishments.

How often must the Certificate be renewed?

The electrical verification must be carried out mandatory every 5 years. Bearing in mind that the standard validity of Sanitary Operating Permits is also usually 5 years, an electrical verification must be approved for each PSF renewal.

Law of Incentives and Promotion for Electric Transportation in Costa Rica

April, 2018

By: Luis Palacios, Zone Environmental Consultant

On February 6, 2018, Law 9518 on Incentives and Promotion for Electric Transportation came into force, which seeks to promote, through economic and practical incentives, the use of electric cars in the country. This will help reduce the consumption of fossil fuels in transportation, which is currently the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in Costa Rica.

With this regulatory measure, the fundamental duty of promoting new technologies for the efficient use of natural resources and protection of the environment, which the State had previously acquired through the Organic Law of the Environment (articles 4 and 58) and the Biodiversity Law (in its chapter VIII).

Some of these benefits are still subject to further development by public, private and financial institutions. However, the Law specifically establishes the following incentives that operate with its entry into force:

  1. Tax exemption applied on the value of the vehicle, as follows:
Valor CIF  Ventas  Selectivo de consumo  Impuesto sobre el valor aduanero 
Los primeros $30.000 del valor CIF  100% exoneración  100% exoneración  100% exoneración 
De $30.001 hasta $45.000 del valor CIF  50% exoneración  75% exoneración  100% exoneración 
De $45.001 hasta $60.000 del valor CIF  0% exoneración  50% exoneración  100% exoneración 
De $60.001 en adelante  0% exoneración  0% exoneración  0% exoneración 

This exemption will operate for a period of 5 years from its entry into force.

    1. Spare parts related to the operation of the electric motor and the batteries of electric vehicles will be exempt from the sales tax and the selective consumption tax.
    2. If the vehicle is made in Costa Rica, the equipment for the assembly and production of electric vehicles will be exempt from the total payment of the sales tax for 10 years. The Law establishes that the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) and the Ministry of Finance will make a list of equipment subject to this exemption.
    3. On the payment of vehicle property tax, which constitutes 65.59% of what is paid by MARCHAMO, exemptions will be applied as follows:
Año  Exoneración de pago de impuesto. 
Primero.  100% 
Segundo  80% 
Tercero  60% 
Cuarto  40% 
Quinto  20% 
  1. Exemption for 5 years from the total payment of the selective consumption tax, the general sales tax and the one percent tax on the customs value, to the parts necessary for the installation of the recharging centers.
  2. Electric vehicles that bear the badge issued by MINAE will not be subject to the vehicular traffic restriction in the San José metropolitan area.
  3. Electric vehicles will be able to park in the preferential spaces designated as blue that will be created in public parking lots, supermarkets, shopping centers and other private parking lots. These parking lots do not substitute or replace the parking lots for people with special mobility conditions regulated in Law 7600.

Other incentives

In addition to the directly applicable incentives mentioned above, the Law contemplates other benefits that must be developed by the competent authorities and its application would entail multiple benefits for those who decide to take the step to use means of transport that are more considerate of the environment.

Parking meters: The Law previously authorizes the Municipalities to establish exemptions from the payment of parking meters for electric vehicles.

Public fleet and tenders: The evaluation of tenders and direct competitive purchases must give an additional 10% to bidders who, under equal conditions, demonstrate that the products offered are electrical.

Electric public transport : The National Plan for Electric Transport must project the replacement of the bus fleet, at least every two years, with a goal within this period of not less than 5% of replaced units.

With regard to taxis, those who wish to replace their carbureted vehicles with electric vehicles, will be able to enjoy the same benefits indicated in the law, as well as use a distinctive color defined by the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation (MOPT). Likewise, when the MOPT starts new taxi concession processes, it will be required that at least 10% of the concessions be granted to electric vehicles.

Recharging stations : To supply energy to vehicles, MINAE will have the obligation to ensure the construction and operation of recharging centers, which must be built and operate at least every 80 kilometers on national highways, and every 120 kilometers on roads. cantonal.

Also, MINAE and MOPT are delegated to issue guidelines for the implementation of recharging centers for electric vehicles in shopping centers and public parking lots.

Mechanics and technical workforce : The National Training Institute (INA) must create channels for the education and training of human resources that can be professionally developed in the maintenance and repair of electric vehicles and their parts. For this, the INA can subcontract chambers, private companies and universities.

On the other hand, the Law requires importers of electric vehicles to provide repair and overhaul services for this type of vehicle, as well as to take care of the correct management of the waste generated by said vehicles. With this, it seeks to deal with one of the most delicate aspects of electrical technologies, which is precisely the waste generated by energy storage devices.

Financing Facilities : Perhaps one of the fields where the law leaves more room for further development is the financing of electric transportation. However, the law takes a step forward by establishing that the financing of electric transportation must be part of development banking projects, and also empowers the National Banking System to implement financing lines for this mode of transportation; These lines will include facilities in their terms, interest rate, guarantees and procedures, as long as they do not represent risky situations for the entities.

Finally, we believe that although there are still aspects to be developed, this Law constitutes a great advance in the fight to convert Costa Rica into a carbon neutral country and its application could greatly benefit the environment.

Trends in energy production and consumption

Energy production is responsible for around 80% of CO 2 emissions and two thirds of all greenhouse gases, the main cause of global warming. Reducing these emissions is essential to ensure the subsistence of life on the planet, therefore, the Paris Agreement has proposed that each country determine its own objectives in order to keep the increase in average global temperature below 2 degrees with relative to pre-industrial levels and to continue efforts to reduce the increase to 1.5 degrees.

Notwithstanding the obvious need to reduce emissions caused by the energy industry, we face the contradiction of having to increase energy production. To understand the challenges we face, we must consider the following:

  1. That the constant supply of energy is necessary for the enjoyment of human rights such as health, food, access to information, communication and transportation, which are essential to guarantee a dignified life for every person.
  2. That both the International Energy Agency and the largest companies in the energy sector agree that the demand for energy will tend to increase throughout the 21st century. By 2040 it is estimated that 30% more energy will have to be produced than is currently produced, this is equivalent to adding a new China and India to the current electricity demand.
  3. It is estimated that by 2030 there will still be 675 million people without a constant supply of energy, so there are still many homes to which the energy distribution network must be extended.

To face these challenges and at the same time conserve the environment, the following are of vital importance: i) the production of energy from renewable sources due to the low pollution they cause and ii) the efficient consumption of energy, so that more and more have to resort less to polluting energy sources to meet global energy demand.

The production of energy through renewable sources is growing at a fast pace, it is estimated that it will increase by 40% by the year 2020 and that by the year 2040 two thirds of the investment destined for energy production will be captured by renewable means.

Despite the rapid increase in renewable energy, we cannot just wait for energy transfer to renewable sources, as the challenge presented by global warming persists as always, with 2017 being the hottest year on record.

Apparently, global warming is progressing faster than the transfer to renewable energy. Therefore, to win the race for terrestrial survival, it is also necessary to rely on efficiency in energy consumption, that is, that the existing energy yields more and reduce waste.

The rational use of energy can be promoted on a large scale in different ways:

  • Electricity consumption bands : Minimum and maximum consumption limits are imposed, in this way, whoever exceeds the maximum limit of electricity consumption will suffer a penalty in the price to pay, while customers whose consumption is less than the minimum limit, will enjoy a reduction on your monthly bill.

In Costa Rica, this system is used only halfway, since the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity penalizes those users whose consumption exceeds 200 kWh per month, applying a higher rate for each kilowatt consumed in excess.

Likewise, article 9 of the Sales Tax Law exempts from said tax electricity consumption of less than 250 kw/h, if the electricity demand exceeds this amount, the sales tax will be applied to the total energy consumed.

Thus, in Costa Rica only excess consumption is penalized, but savings are not rewarded.

  • Promotion for the consumption of low-consumption products : This promotion can be via tax exemption, such as the one applied by the Law for the Regulation of the Rational Use of Energy on a whole series of products such as fluorescent light bulbs or solar panels.

Also, at the beginning of this year, the Law on Incentives and Promotion of Electric Transport was approved, which creates tax exemptions that considerably reduce the prices of vehicles, facilities for financing the acquisition of means of electric transport and other benefits such as preferential parking for zero emission vehicles.

  • Prohibition of non-efficient electrical products : Such as Directive 011 of the Ministry of Environment and Energy that prohibits public institutions from purchasing incandescent light bulbs and any other equipment with low energy efficiency. Or the general prohibition that exists on these products in other countries.
  • Establish maximum limits on consumption : Like the Law for the Regulation of the Rational Use of Energy, which establishes a maximum limit for electricity consumption by industry and whoever exceeds it, must present a plan for the gradual reduction of consumption.

As for individual initiatives for energy efficiency, joint construction and conditioning measures are usually taken, adoption of adequate equipment and the conscious use of electrical equipment. For example:

  1. Construction and conditioning:
  • With the use of climate control means such as adhesive solar filters on windows, the thermal impact of solar radiation on the interior of the building can be reduced and dependence on air conditioners can be reduced.
  • In terms of lighting, the interior arrangement of buildings in such a way that natural light is properly used reduces dependence on artificial light for up to 12 hours.
  1. Adoption of suitable equipment:
  • When it is not possible to completely avoid the use of air conditioners, it should be taken into account that centralized systems tend to use less energy than individual units.
  • Incandescent light bulbs waste 90% of the energy in heat, while only 10% is used to produce light. Switching to fluorescent bulbs uses up to 4 times more energy and reduces the heat generated by the bulbs, which also reduces the need for air conditioning systems.
  1. Conscientious use of electrical equipment:
  • The use of air conditioners in automatic mode to maintain a suitable temperature and at certain times, reduces the intensity of use
  • The use of natural light can save up to 22% of the energy used in buildings.
  • Regarding the use of electronic equipment, simple measures such as the adoption of black screen savers, sleep times and even automatic shutdown of equipment in disuse, generate a significant reduction in energy consumption.

There are many other measures that can be applied in terms of energy efficiency, which in addition to playing a fundamental role in the challenges that humanity currently faces, represent economic savings in the short and medium term, so being a win-win scenario, there is no real compelling reason not to adopt them.


Promotion of renewable energies in El Salvador

El Salvador promotes the creation of projects that promote the use of renewable energy through tax incentives. Investments that enable the sustainable development of projects that use this type of energy resources will benefit. All this in order to improve the quality of life of the population and comply with the commitments established in the “Kyoto Protocol” and the “United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change”, whose main purpose is to promote actions leading to a reduction in the effect of greenhouse gases.

By virtue of the foregoing, with the Law on Fiscal Incentives for the Promotion of Renewable Energies in Electricity Generation in force, it is intended that natural and legal persons who invest in plants for the generation of electrical energy or in expansion projects already existing, that use hydraulic, geothermal, wind, solar, marine, biogas or biomass resources; as well as any other source that in the future is identified as renewable for the generation of electrical energy, enjoy the following tax benefits, exclusively in relation to the costs and expenses of the investment corresponding to said projects:

  1. a) During the first ten years they will enjoy total exemption from the payment of Import Tariff Rights for machinery, equipment and supplies destined exclusively for the construction and expansion of the works of the electric power generation plants, including the construction of the network. necessary to distribute the energy from the generation plant.
  2. b) The income derived directly from the generation of renewable energy, will enjoy total exemption from the payment of Income Tax for a period of five (5) years in the case of projects greater than 10 megawatts (MW); and ten (10) years in the case of projects of 10 or less megawatts (MW); in both cases, counted from the fiscal year in which they obtain income derived from the generation of energy.
  3. c) Total exemption from the payment of all types of taxes on income derived directly from the sale of “Certificates of Reduced Emissions” (CER), within the framework of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol, or markets of similar carbon, obtained by the projects qualified and benefited according to this law.

In the case of geothermal power plants, the costs and expenses related to the activities related to the total reinjection process of the geothermal resource may be deducted from income tax for a maximum period of ten years. This deduction may not exceed twenty percent of the gross income generated in the previous year.

The management to obtain these benefits must be requested before the General Superintendency of Electricity and Communications (SIGET), which will issue a certification of the projects that meet the requirements to benefit from the tax incentives prescribed by law. Once the previous certification has been obtained, the respective processes must be initiated before the General Directorate of Internal Taxes and the General Directorate of Customs, both dependencies of the Ministry of Finance, to make the aforementioned benefits effective. 

Energy efficiency

The adequate or necessary consumption of energy is a type of measure that must be adopted in the use of said resource, incorporating more efficient electrical devices, that is, they consume less energy than the average electrical device, obtaining the same result; as well as making use of spaces with greater lighting, for the adequate use of sunlight.

For the Economic Commission of Latin America (ECLAC), the sectors that must implement energy efficiency are the sectors with the highest greenhouse gases (GHGs); Residential, Industrial, Services, Agriculture, Transport and Energy.

The importance of energy efficiency is based on four points;

  1. Increased energy consumption due to global growth.
  2. Increase in the cost of energy.
  3. Reality of climate change.
  4. Medium and long-term economic savings, implementing adequate energy consumption measures.

Energy efficiency encourages the consumption of renewable energies, to achieve a balance in the emissions produced, since it is estimated that the growth of the world population will increase by 1,000 million by the year 2030 according to the United Nations Organization. Without a doubt, there will be a greater demand for energy and therefore a greater generation of GHG emissions. Hence, it is absolutely necessary for future generations to incorporate energy efficiency activities into their way of life.

Below we will mention some of the most effective measures to achieve efficient energy consumption:

  1. Improve ventilation environments in the infrastructure.
  2. Change traditional lamps for LED or saving bulbs.
  3. Implement low consumption electronic devices.
  4. Carry out an Energy Efficiency Plan, to know the real consumption of electrical appliances.
  5. Implement solar techniques for heating water.
  6. Incorporate air conditioning systems with greater efficiency.
  7. Promote energy efficiency in public lighting, implementing saving lights.
  8. Promote the implementation of energy efficiency in education.

These are measures that have to be incorporated in order to achieve energy efficiency. To achieve significant effects, it is necessary to implement them in all sectors and establish energy saving policies in order to achieve sustainability.

Nicaragua approves reform to the Energy Stability Law for the incorporation of electric vehicles

On February 15, the Energy Stability Law was reformed, including a series of regulations that seek to promote the use of sustainable technologies that contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases and combat Climate Change.

The most relevant aspects of the legal reform are:

  1. Electric vehicles are exempt from compliance with the gas, smoke and noise emission control standards established in the Law for the vehicle circulation regime.
  2. The creation of charging or recharging centers for electric vehicles is ordered, requiring the Ministry of Energy and Mines to publish regulatory provisions for these centers.
  3. The payment of the DAI, ISC and VAT to the charging centers (recharging) of electric vehicles is exonerated for a period of 5 years.
  4. The Mayor’s Offices and all their dependencies may exonerate 100% of taxes on the acquisition of electric vehicles and their spare parts, with no value limit.
  5. New tax incentives for electric vehicles are approved, in the ranges indicated below:

New fiscal stimuli incorporated in the Law for the importation of electric vehicles.

From USD 1.00 to USD 30,000.00 100% 100% 100%
From USD 30,000.01 to USD 45,000.00 100% 75% fifty%
From USD 45,000.01 to USD 60,000.00 fifty% fifty% 0%
From USD 60,000.01 onwards 0% 0% 0%

The approval of this Law is an important effort of the country in terms of climate change, and brings with it the implementation of an electric mobility program – the creation of an entire infrastructure for optimal operation – that will be financed by the People’s Republic of China.