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Oct 31, 2003

B.W.S.L. seeks higher rates

It’s been criticised as being a commission without teeth, but today the Public Utilities Commission, P.U.C., called a press conference to show that they mean business. The timing, on the same day as INTELCO’s launch, led many to believe they would be announcing the long awaited interconnection rates for B.T.L. and INTELCO. But this was not the case. The purpose was to announce that yet another utility company, this time the Belize Water Services Limited, is entering into a full tariff review proceeding. In plain English, B.W.S.L. is hoping to raise their rates with the blessing of the P.U.C. This, according to the B.W.S.L. business plan, is necessary because, “Currently the income generated by the business is insufficient to sustain necessary future investment in the business.” P.U.C. Chairman Gilbert Canton says B.W.S.L.’s application and proposed new tariffs will have to be carefully examined and the needs of the company and the community balanced.

Gilbert Canton, P.U.C. Chairman

“Let’s say the determination comes out that there is a need for an increase in tariff, in revenue to meet what has to be done, what needs to be done in the water sector. Well what you have to do is see, well how to do generate that, you have to translate that into some sort of tariff structure. And then looking at the tariff structure, you have to look at those same principles, is it affordable? Can we even do it? Or do we have to go somewhere else and see how we can figure another way of taking care of this revenue generation need. All those things will have to be looked at because nobody wants to have a tariff increase; that is the last thing that anybody wants.”

The tariff review process is scheduled to be carried out by the P.U.C. over the next five and a half months and will include public presentations and reactions from customers.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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