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Jan 31, 2018

Water Rates Cut? If No One Objects…

John Avery

Belize Water Services Limited has maintained the same rates for water supply since the last full tariff review by the Public Utilities Commission in 2015. But the Commission decided to initiate an Annual Review Proceeding in which BWS proposes more than one hundred and seventy million in investments, particularly in San Pedro, but no change in rates. The Commission disagreed and has decided, preliminarily, to lower rates by an average of six point three nine percent from April of 2018 to March of 2020, pending no objections by BWS or other interested parties. Here’s more from PUC chairman John Avery.

 

John Avery, Chairman, Public Utilities Commission

“This is an initial decision; remember, this is not final. The Commission has prescribed a reduction in rates; the process isn’t complete. It wouldn’t be fair of us to make any definitive statements like that.”

 

Aaron Humes

“But I’m leading up to the point. Assuming all the caveats, there are no objections, this comes final by – how long is it?”

 

John Avery

“The decision is required by March thirty-first regardless of what. If there are no objections, the law says that the Commission is to adopt the initial decision as the final decision but there is no deadline for it; it’s just that common sense tells you, you want to put it out before April first when the rates will change. But if there is an objection – you have fifteen days to object; I think you have fifteen more days to get the independent expert; thirty days for the expert to issue his report and we would then have to issue a final decision within fifteen days of that. Now those are the outside: if the expert takes two weeks to do this thing, then it’s not the full thirty days, then we still have to do it within fifteen days but we can do it in five days. I’m giving you the extreme deadlines but the process can be shorter.”

 

Aaron Humes

“My point I was leading up to is after all of that, the rates go into effect on April first, whatever they may be and they extend for next year?”

 

John Avery

“We have set this rate up until March thirty-first, 2020, pending any rate review done next year or pending any amendment to this based on the investments I had mentioned, some investments BWS contemplates making in South Ambergris Caye, if those come to fruition and they do require that rates be changed, then as I said we are willing to start the process as immediately as we are convinced that a rate adjustment is warranted.”

 

The initial deadline for objections is February fourteenth.

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