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Jan 15, 2013

P.U.C. delivers its final decision on electricity rates; there’s good news for G.O.B.

Many Belizeans welcomed the New Year with a cringe following the announcement at the end of December that electricity rates would increase by as much as sixteen point eight-seven percent effective the first of January. Since the announcement, many have prepared – at least mentally – for what is sure to be more dollars spent on electricity bills. The Public Utilities Commission today said that it has received and reviewed the comments on the proposed increase.  In total, only three comments were submitted by the Belize Electricity Limited, Belize Telemedia Limited and the Government of Belize. Now, based on the comments put forward, specifically that of the government, the P.U.C. has made some amendments to that final draft. The amendment is reflected in two areas, a division of commercial class into two categories and maintaining the existing tariffs for government in regard to street lights. In other words, government will not experience an increase in their bill for street lights. It’s a saving of nine cents per kilowatt hour, but what about the consumers? Essentially the sixteen point eight-seven percent increase will be reflected on your bills. The P.U.C. held a press conference this afternoon at the Radisson where Director of Tariffs and Administration, Doctor Leroy Almendarez and Director of Electricity, Victor Lewis, briefed the media on the commission’s final decision to maintain the government tariffs on street lights and what it means for the rest of consumers.


Dr. Leroy Almendarez, Director, Tariffs & Administration, P.U.C.

Leroy Almendarez

“According to the comment that we got from the Government of Belize, or the commission received from the Government of Belize you will notice that the government is saying that when the tariffs were reduce or the rate was reduced or the MER (mean rate of electricity) was reduced from forty-four point one to forty-one point eight one percent per kilowatt hour, the rate for street lights remain the same in other words; in other words it was not affected there was no change in the fifty-five cents per kilowatt hour.  What the government is saying in their comment is that they did not get any relief when it was reduced by six point one four cents. And so therefore, it means now they are saying that yes they provide the relief they pay and the commission is saying yes there is a direct benefit to consumers from street lights. The government states in their comment that the additional nine cents per kilowatt hour would then mean additional expenditure when in fact they said they did not get the relief. Here is where we are, the increase that was mentioned by the chairman on December twenty-eighth is the increase that stands. The increase in the MER or the increase in tariffs is sixteen point eight seven percent; that is the increase. Now, what the commission did was to revisit the cost of street lights and decided that yes and I will read clearly what the commission said. The commission says that: “The PUC considers it to be the right of G.O.B. to reduce any subsidies that it provides through electricity tariffs and so. As such, the P.U.C. decided to maintain the existing tariff for street lighting; that is fifty-five cents per kilowatt hour, which provides a direct benefit for all the consumers of B.E.L.—which is true. And to spread the resultant shortfalls and expected revenues—because one of the things you must remember if that is reduced of remains the same as fifty-five cents, then it means that if that nine cents is not redistributed then the increase would not be sixteen point eight seven percent. So in effect what happen then is that the commission decided to spread that resultant shortfall.”

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7 Responses for “P.U.C. delivers its final decision on electricity rates; there’s good news for G.O.B.”

  1. Storm says:

    I’m afraid that this increase, which might be necessary, will still be VERY painful for many, many Belizean families. I don’t know anybody receiving a 16.87% increase in wages, so it means that sacrifices will have to be made elsewhere. It’s hard to cut rent and food, so it means people will be forced to reduce health care, insurance, and other things that are important, but not an immediate matter of life or death.

    GOB — or some civic organization that cares, or UB — should begin an immediate project to study electricity needs and options for the future, both short- and long-term. Things will only get more intolerable if there is no planning.

    To paraphrase the legendary basketball coach John Wooden, “A government that fails to plan, plans to fail!”

  2. Retired CEO says:

    @ Storm, well said and written. Clearly, the GOB does not have the faceless/nameless and poor Belizeans well being at heart.

  3. cayobway says:

    There is a lot of open space in belize, why not look into the chance of bringing in wind turbines, they are easy to maintain and the wind is free.

  4. Seletar says:

    The Israelis use undersea generators that produce electricity simply by the movement of the ocean tides.

  5. Charlie's Angel says:

    Cayobway and Seletar, who will pay for such investment? GOB is so broke it can’t even pay for BEL in the first place. Someone would have to pay for the upfront capital cost. Which brings us to another question: why again was it that we stole…er… “belizeanized”, BEL? Was it because the previous private owner said they needed higher rates??

    Now we have higher rates AND a hundred million dollar debt to Fortis…….our geniuses in Belmopan at work!

  6. Amir castellanos says:

    Both PUC and the GOB are both rubber stamps.
    We will forever have this going on until we the people
    do something about it.

  7. x says:

    I wanted to write a long story about this whole deal (it is deep). Why the UDP and the UDP controlled PUC ran fortise out of the country. To take over the company. Now we see, GOB (not puc) is taking our rates way up. Good job killing small business and the economy and the hopes of all small buiness people country wide.

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