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Jun 13, 2011

Fortis says G.O.B. hasn’t sent any offer to buy B.E.L.

Fortis, the parent company of Belize Electricity Limited has issued a release today on the current state of B.E.L.  Fortis, which is headquartered in Canada, pointed out that it has not received any purchase proposal from the government of Belize. Fortis holds seventy percent of B.E.L., which accounts for less than two percent of its total assets. It went at length to point out its leviathan sized portfolio as the largest investor-owned utility in Canada with assets estimated at thirteen billion U.S. dollars, while fiscal revenue for 2010 totaled three point seven billion U.S. dollars.  Despite its worldly assets, Fortis says a June 2008 electricity rate order by the Public Utilities Commission had “a significant negative impact on the financial condition and operations of B.E.L. The order effectively disallowed the recovery of previously incurred fuel and purchased power costs in customer rates and set customer rates at a level that does not allow B.E.L. to earn a fair and reasonable return.” Fortis then took its case to the Supreme Court, but it was dismissed in March 2011.  The release claims that the court finds, “the generally accepted concept of Good Utility Practice is not applicable in Belize.” The utility goliath has since forwarded its case to the Court of Appeals. But while the government, P.U.C. and Fortis battle it out in court, Fortis front man in Belize, Lynn Young’s main concern continues to be keeping the lights on and the jobs secured for employees in a company that has thrived and grown over the past decade.  Young told News Five that believe it or not, B.E.L. has just won an award for service and low electricity rates in the region.

Lynn Young, C.E.O., B.E.L.

Lynn Young

“Well that’s a good question. You know it’s not about Lynn young, it’s not about the U.D.P. or Dean Barrow or John Avery or whatever; it’s about having reliable service for Belize. And electric service is just important for the economy of any country. As far as I am concerned, whoever owns B.E.L., the employees’ job is to try to perform the best they can. I have said that whatever happens, I will try to make sure the company can continue in that vein. As to me personally, I have worked in the company when it was run by governments before and there are things that governments do when they run companies that I don’t think I could live with. But we will have to see what happens when that time comes, if it comes. Just this week, while I was in Washington, I got news that the Caribbean Association of Electric Utilities awarded the company two awards—one for lower rates and one for improved reliability, improved service. I mentioned the awards from CARILEC and I mention specifically because I am very proud of it. I just think that the—I don’t think, I know—that B.E.L. has moved from being one of poorest performers in the region to one of the best. And to be recognized by your peers is extremely gratifying to me and I think the employees of B.E.L., despite all the noise out there, should hold their heads high because they have done a wonderful job of moving B.E.L. from being a very down in the dumps company to one of the top performers in the region.  In spite of the fact that all the political noise is blurring the vision of the Belizean public, I think they need to see that this is a good company and the employees there are Belizean and they have done a marvelous job and I want to publically acknowledge them for what they’ve been doing.”

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5 Responses for “Fortis says G.O.B. hasn’t sent any offer to buy B.E.L.”

  1. Lindsay Howard says:

    CARIBBEAN again. Compare rates to CENTRAL AMERICA where Belize is actually located and you’ll find that we have extremely high rates for the region. And, even if BEL got an award for low rates in the Caribbean, that’s directly attributable to our PUC not letting BEL raise rates as it wanted to. Blah, blah, blah, BEL.

  2. javier solis says:

    It is a shame that our rates are considered the lowest in the region. Because they are really too high.
    BEL buys power at 20 cents/ kw and sells at 44cent/kw. How the hell could they have failed? Fuel is barely used, so how come fuel prices affect the revenues so much? Tell you what, if you look at the combined salaries of the four highest officers at BEL, they gross $1.5 mil total. Now that is something that they should also receive an award for. Inflated salaries for failed administrators. No, Young, if the government takes over, you should not be there at the helm.

  3. Maverick says:

    It is so funny that Lynn is proud of receiving an award for keeping rates low, but on the other hand is pushing the cruel agenda of Stan Marshall to hold a gun to Belizeans’ heads to try to force a rate increase. If BEL were serious about building a good, long term profitable investment, their focus would be on encouraging investment in cheaper sources of power, reducing line losses and pilferage, and learning to operate at the best possible cost.

    It is unfortunate that Fortis is choosing to wreck a company which is doing a lot of things right, employs a high level of Belizean employees and provides the lifeblood of power to our society. While we do not expect charity, there has to be some corporate social responsibility.

  4. RedBwai says:

    GOB buy BEL????? HA! wat a bunch of crap!!!! are u crazy Lynn Young??? lol…..he must be crazy…i know it….GOB is gonna take BEL without paying a red cent…..GOB is gonna NATIONALIZE BEL jus like they did BTL. So they can sit there and wait to be paid….it will be a government take over….u jus wait and see… and when dat does happen, Mr. Lynn Young wont be the CEO for damn sure…

  5. Gilbert says:

    WHAT A WASTE WITH MUCH DESTRUCTION CAUSE BY BOTH DAMS IN CAYO AND THE DAMS IN COLOMBIA TOLEDO. THEY STILL CANNOT PROVIDE ELECTRICITY AND THEY HAVE DESTROYED THE ENVIRONMENT!!!!

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