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May 7, 2018

B.W.S. Takes Regulator to Court Over Rate Decrease

John Avery

Back in January, the Public Utilities Commission issued a preliminary decision to lower rates for water and sewerage by an average of six point three nine percent from April of 2018 to March of 2020. It’s a decrease no one seems to want, although there are no objections from either Belize Water Services Limited or customers. B.W.S. has made no changes to water rates since the last full tariff review by the P.U.C. in 2015. But the utility company has decided to take the matter to court, a first in the P.U.C.’s process, and has held up the change until a hearing later this month. Here’s more from P.U.C. chairman John Avery.

 

John Avery, Chairman, Public Utilities Commission

“B.W.S. applied to the court for judicial review, hoping to quash that entire A.R.P. process, so the court restrained us from completing it until the matter is heard. It’s set for May twenty-eighth.”

 

Reporter

“Are you of the opinion that B.W.S. is flouting the authority of the P.U.C.?”

 

John Avery

“They have a right to go to court; everybody has a right to go to court if they feel aggrieved about anything. Let me put it this way, because I don’t want to prejudice any case; let me put it this way. The P.U.C., as you’ve seen in public hearings we’ve had for B.W.S. year after year when we do rate review, we’re not satisfied with the performance of B.W.S. I’ll just leave it at that. They didn’t object [to] anything; they just applied for judicial review – they applied initially for an injunction and they got the injunction, there was an injunction hearing, they changed the application and then they asked for a stay and they got their stay until the matter is heard.”

 

In the case of B.E.L., objections are being taken until Friday, May twelfth.

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