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Mar 26, 2003

Renegotiation w/Mexico means cheaper electricity

Like much of the world, Belize has been taking a licking from skyrocketing oil prices, but beginning next week, thanks to the renegotiation of B.E.L.’s power purchase agreement with Mexico, we will be enjoying some significant relief. Approximately fifty-seven percent of Belize’s electricity is provided by Mexico’s Comision Federal de Electricidad. Under the original agreement with C.F.E., the price of that power jumped sixty-three percent during 2002 and threatened to trigger corresponding hikes in B.E.L.’s charges to consumers. In recent negotiations, however, B.E.L. and Belize government negotiators pointed out that industrial rates in Mexico have increased only twenty-two percent during that same period. Under the terms of a new agreement about to be finalised, any fluctuation in prices B.E.L. pays will be similar to that charged to customers within Mexico. The result is a price reduction to B.E.L. retroactive to January first, 2002. That three million U.S. dollar annual saving will be applied to B.E.L.’s rate stabilisation account. It will not only eliminate the prospect of higher consumer charges, but will allow B.E.L. to extend the subsidized social rate of twenty-one cents per kilowatt-hour to an additional fourteen thousand customers. It is expected that on April first the threshold for the discounted price will be extended from households using fifty or less kilowatt-hours per month to a new level of one hundred and twenty-five kilowatt hours.

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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