Water rates going down…
The Public Utilities Commission announced a reduction in electricity rates of six point one-four percent on January twelfth; that won’t be final until the end of the month. But this morning, another pre-election gift was formally announced. It’s a reduction in water rates despite a two point two million dollar loss to the government controlled Belize Water Services Limited. Firstly, the Public Utilities Commission says that a formal request was made by BWS in December 2011 for no adjustment in water rates. But the P.U.C. has approved a rate reduction which would also extend to the company’s current business plan but will not affect other tariffs, fees and charges approved during the 2009 Full Tariff Review Proceeding Final Decision. We will tell you about the reduction to your bills shortly but how was the decrease determined? According to the P.U.C. there was a drop in water consumption patterns between April 2010 and March 2011 which resulted in the two point two million dollar loss. The shortfall, according to P.U.C. Chairman John Avery, stems from BWSL’s failure to make necessary investments in improving its productivity.
John Avery, Chairman, Public Utilities Commission
“The majority of the investments we had approved were intended to increase storage in the various branches of BWS or to increase their production capacity. We believe these two things would make more water available, particularly during peak periods where you tend to get slightly lower pressures. Those would serve to increase the pressures in those times and should ultimately have resulted in increased sales to BWS. The thing is the more water BWS sells the lower the per unit costs and customers would have benefited because BWS would have sold more water [and] then perhaps going forward we could have even lower rates. Unfortunately, BWS did not meet all the investments that we had approved. For the first two years of the Full Tariff Period we expected them to achieve about fifty percent of the investments that we had approved and so we had to redo the forecast based on their not meeting the forecast that we approved for the first two years.”