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Oct 11, 2011

Injunction lifted; will there be cheaper electricity rates?

The Belize Electricity Limited and the Public Utilities Commission have been in and out of court over tariff reviews and rates. But all that has changed since the utility company is now government owned.  B.E.L. today issued a release announcing that it is lifting an injunction which was granted by the Supreme Court, to prevent the P.U.C. from making any adjustments to electricity rates or taking regulatory action in relation to the 2008 P.U.C. Final Tariff Decision. B.E.L. had appealed the P.U.C.’s 2008 decision, but their case was dismissed. In May of this year, however, the Supreme Court granted the injunction against the P.U.C. Electricity rates have been frozen since 2008, but according to B.E.L., with the lifting of the injunction, the P.U.C. will be able to adjust electricity rates to reflect the current cost of power and other operational realities. The release also claims that expenses incurred during the three year legal battle have amounted to over four million dollars to date. The P.U.C. is also in the process of withdrawing its legal action against B.E.L., relating to the utility pole rental charges levied by the utility on cable and telephone operators. What we didn’t hear about is the thirty million or so dollars which the P.U.C. once said B.E.L. owes consumers.

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3 Responses for “Injunction lifted; will there be cheaper electricity rates?”

  1. Kay says:

    I wouldn’t hold my breathe on that thirty million! GOB-runned or not, BEL will give Belizeans thirty million reasons why we won’t see a price decrease in the near future.

  2. Liberty and Freedom says:

    Place your bets ladies and gentlemen. I’ll wager they go up, not down. When was the last time the GOB ever lowered the cost of anything……

  3. Belizean says:

    The difference here is that this gov has the power to negotiate with the Mexican gov, from state to state, for better prices, credit ceilings and other benefits. In private hands it couldnt. So yes it will go down, but not for too long i.e. if the Mexicans keep the cost of power tagged to the world oil prices. The mexicans cant afford to give Belize free oil, point blank, they are in a costly war and have people living far below the means of Belizeans. So when the cost of power goes above what is being charged, then it will be pass through to consumers. Did you ever think the cost of fuel would keep low when the Barrow Administration took over? It climbed back up when the world oil prices soar, sure its down right now, but with oil finishing and no plans in Belize for alternative energy to meet the growing demands, how much you think we will pay for electricity. We rely more than 60% on CFE for the overall cost of power, and that is increasing as more homes and business are built. Trust me it will go down and stay down atleast before the municipal and general elections. Gov can afford it because they are not spending on new projects out of tax collections, new projects are being financed on long term basis and grants. So revenues from oil, gas at the pump and GST can trickle in to absorb the cost of power from CFE for the next two years, i.e. sort of to weather the storm. After that its recovery. Imagine the possibilities not today, but down the road. The possibilities for whom? I dont know!

  4. Belizean says:

    Just remember it is the same esquivel that led UDP into a defeat in 1998, that is advising the Barrow Administration now. He is the one leading the negotiations with CFE and also may have had a lot to do with the Imagine the possibilities campaign and the pay now benefit later GST increase campaign. Without a sound energy plan and back up when the situation in the world economy changes, I’d say we are walking into a 1998 imagine the possibilities, pay now benefit later, VAT is a killa scenario. Oh its coming sirs!

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