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Mar 28, 2008

P.U.C. denies B.E.L.’s requests for price hikes

It’s been a hot topic on the talk show circuit but late this afternoon word out of the Public Utilities Commission is that an application by Belize Electricity Limited to raise rates has been disapproved. According to a press release from the P.U.C., the regulatory body has concluded that:

“1. B.E.L. can meet and satisfy its financial obligations in 2008.
2. B.E.L. can manage cash flow by reducing capital expenditure and operating expenditure and
3. The P.U.C. will further analyze and interrogate the balance of the Cost of Power Rate Stabilisation Account and will address the escalating CPRSA due to the rapid increase of oil prices in the Annual Review Proceeding that commences in early April, while seeking ways to minimize the impact on rates.”

B.E.L. had applied for four changes as part of a threshold event review proceeding which included a rate increase of six cents per kilowatt hour, a revised unit cost of power to thirty-one cents from twenty five cents, a six cent increase in the mean electricity rate per kilowatt hour and adjustments in customer tariffs. As part of the TERP, the P.U.C. had asked for comments from the public and every one of the one hundred and ninety responses they received were against the price hikes. According to B.E.L.’s Dawn Sampson, the company is now reviewing the P.U.C.’s decision. We do note that on April second, the company is expected to present grounds similar to those named in the TERP to raise rates as part of the Annual Review Proceeding. The P.U.C. will be holding a press conference on Monday morning to further explain its decision.

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