Ease of Doing Business in

Costa Rica

Costa Rica Download Profile (1753.5KB, pdf)
Region Latin America & Caribbean
Income Category Upper middle income
Population 4,807,850
GNI Per Capita (US$) 10,210
City covered San José



DB 2017 Rank



DB 2017 DTF (% points)

  • local_library
  • group
Topics DB 2017 Rank DB 2016 Rank info_outline Change in Rank DB 2017 DTF (% points) info_outline DB 2016 DTF (% points) info_outline Change in DTF (% points) info_outline
Overall 62 60 down
68.50 68.49 down
Starting a Business 125 119 down
81.57 81.20 up
Dealing with Construction Permits 53 49 down
74.63 74.61 up
Getting Electricity 27 22 down
85.04 85.01 up
Registering Property 52 52
73.39 73.39
Getting Credit 7 7
85.00 85.00
Protecting Minority Investors 165 166 up
35.00 35.00
Paying Taxes 62 60 down
78.98 79.03 down
Trading across Borders 71 69 down
79.32 79.86 down
Enforcing Contracts 125 125
52.41 52.41
Resolving Insolvency 107 106 down
39.62 39.37 up

DB 2017 Rank:


DB 2016 Rank:


Change in Rank:


DB 2017 DTF (% points):


DB 2016 DTF (% points):


Change in DTF (% points):


Price of electricity (US cents per kWh) 24.5
Name of utility Compania Nacional de Fuerza y Luz
City San José
Indicator Costa Rica Latin America & Caribbean OECD high income
Procedures (number) info_outline 5 5.5 4.8
Time (days) info_outline 45 66.0 76.2
Cost (% of income per capita) info_outline 182.3 999.0 62.5
Reliability of supply and transparency of tariff index (0-8) info_outline 7 4.2 7.5
  • Measure of efficiency
    No. Procedure Time to Complete Associated Costs

    Request engineering study, submit application and await estimate

    Agency: Compania Nacional de Fuerza y Luz (CNFL)

    The service is generally requested in person. The customer has to file the following documents with the application form:
    • the electrical plans,
    • the cadastre plans
    • and a copy of the applicant's ID.
    Depending of the nature of the work, more documents might be required. None of these documents require notary's certification.

    8 calendar days CRC 35,000
    * 2

    Receive site inspection by CNFL

    Agency: Compania Nacional de Fuerza y Luz (CNFL)

    A site inspection is necessary to prepare the technical report.

    1 calendar day CRC 0

    Await preparation of design by CNFL and prearrangements for works

    Agency: Compania Nacional de Fuerza y Luz (CNFL)

    After the inspection the utility will issue a technical report. The client is given the designs and a list of providers authorized by CNFL to do the connection works.
    The design itself is prepared by CNFL -indicating the works and materials required. Should the installation of a transformers be required the design is prepared by the Section for the Design of Electrical Networks of CNFL. In order to establish whether this is necessary, the Engineering Study is issued; if the connection can be done with underground cables, the work can be designed by an outside electric engineer, who is registered with the Colegio de Ingenieros Electricistas, Mecánicos e Industriales (CFIA). In that case, the designs are presented to CNFL for approval. Until they are approved and the Engineering Study is issued, no works can be done.

    8 calendar days CRC 0

    Hire private company to carry out works in accordance with CNFL's plans

    Agency: Empresa privada

    The external connection works have to be done by a firm that has been authorized by CNFL to do medium voltage network construction work. There are 21 firms with such authorization in the capital city. Once the supply contract between the client and the authorized provider has been signed, it is filed with CNFL. It takes approximately 3 days to start the works and, once supervised, the construction can start. The construction cannot start if no initiation date has been determined by the CNFL.

    The internal wiring installation can be done by any electrician hired by the client, but it has to be supervised by the engineer responsible for the design of the electric installation. CNFL does not conduct any inspections of the internal wiring. The internal wiring installation requires previous plans approved by an electric engineer authorized by Colegio de Ingenieros Electricistas, Mecánicos e Industriales (CFIA) and the works have to be supervised by the CFIA or by another electric engineer. No certificate of compliance with NEC rules is emitted nor can it be requested. The plans approved by CFIA will have to be filed with the CNFL by the time the meter installation is requested. Three transformers of 50 kVA have to be installed inside the client's private property. The client has to pay for them. They can be installed in a post inside the private property (it's not allowed to install them in public places) or in a transformers vault.

    26 calendar days USD 17,500

    Receive meter installation and final connection from CNFL

    Agency: Compania Nacional de Fuerza y Luz (CNFL)

    The client has to request the meter. A donation document for the transformers (transferring ownership to the utility) is prepared and confirmed that no money is owed by the client. The payments that the customer has to make to CNFL have to be done in the Section of Electric Networks Design. The payment receipt has to be shown later in the office of Engineering Study to be able to go to this step (the Engineering Study).
    There is a guarantee deposit that is calculated according to the consumption. It represents one month consumption. The minimum amount of guarantee for the residential customer is ¢ 15.500, and for businesses the minimum amount is ¢ 25.000. This deposit is required for all clients requesting a new service. The deposit is refundable and after five years it begins to generate interests. It is reimbursed when the client terminates the service. The deposit covers the installation of the meter equipment with its materials. Additionally it covers the operation costs and the service maintenance.
    Normally CNFL tries to both inspect the works and install the meter at the same time. CNFL charges between 2 and 3% of the cost of the works only for the reception and the powering. The responsible to pay this fee is the client. Therefore, this cost is normally included in the estimation of costs sent to the client. If the service requires power transformers or a specific meter, they are installed by CNFL without extra costs.
    The installation of the meter is exclusive responsibility of CNFL. The internal installation planes approved by the Engineers Association and the electrician's certification have to be sent to CNFL before the final powering.

    3 calendar days CRC 562,195.95

    * Takes place simultaneously with previous procedure.

  • Measure of quality
    Reliability of supply and transparency of tariff index (0-8)
    Total duration and frequency of outages per customer a year (0-3)
    System average interruption duration index (SAIDI) 0
    System average interruption frequency index (SAIFI) 0
    Mechanisms for monitoring outages (0-1)
    Does the distribution utility use automated tools to monitor outages? Yes
    Mechanisms for restoring service (0-1)
    Does the distribution utility use automated tools to restore service? Yes
    Regulatory monitoring (0-1)
    Does a regulator—that is, an entity separate from the utility—monitor the utility’s performance on reliability of supply? Yes
    Financial deterrents aimed at limiting outages (0-1)
    Does the utility either pay compensation to customers or face fines by the regulator (or both) if outages exceed a certain cap? No
    Communication of tariffs and tariff changes (0-1)
    Are effective tariffs available online? Yes
    Link to the website, if available online https://www.cnfl.go.cr/index.php/tarifas-vigentes-c#disposiciones-generales
    Are customers notified of a change in tariff ahead of the billing cycle? Yes
    Price of electricity (US cents per kWh) 24.5


    If the duration and frequency of outages is 100 or less, the economy is eligible to score on the Reliability of supply and transparency of tariff index.

    If the duration and frequency of outages is not available, or is over 100, the economy is not eligible to score on the index.