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Dec 28, 2018

G.O.B. Objects to B.E.L. Getting Higher Rate Increase Than Requested

Will your light bill go up on New Year’s Day?  The Ministry of the Public Service, Energy and Public Utilities has essentially requested a stay of execution, asking the Public Utilities Commission to reconsider and re-evaluate the submission made by Belize Electricity Limited, as well as the draft decision by the regulator.  This follows a proposed increase in the mean electricity rate which has been approved by the P.U.C. and is set to come into effect on January first, 2019.  The not-so-good news was announced during a press brief held by the P.U.C. on Thursday and by midday today, the Government of Belize issued a response objecting to B.E.L. getting a higher rate increase than what was initially being sought.  The request for an increase in electricity rate from thirty-nine point two cents per kilowatt hour to forty-one point five cents was submitted by B.E.L. earlier this month.  Not only was the request approved, the P.U.C. has granted an additional half cent per kilowatt hour, notwithstanding errors in B.E.L.’s calculation.  A release from government earlier today states that it is satisfied with B.E.L.’s submission for an increase in rate to forty-one and a half cents only.  P.U.C. chairman John Avery has acknowledged the mistakes made in B.E.L.’s calculation.


John Avery

John Avery, Chairman, Public Utilities Commission

“In reviewing B.E.L.’s submission, the P.U.C. identified two major deficiencies.  One: B.E.L. erred in calculating what was approved by the commission for cost of power.  B.E.L. did not take its figures directly from previous decisions.  What B.E.L. did was to estimate the cost of power approved by the P.U.C. by multiplying the average cost for power times the number of kilowatt hours.  And so, subsequently, they underestimated the amount approved by the P.U.C.   When the P.U.C. recalculated the deficiency based on our approved totals, we found that B.E.L. was about five million dollars short because the cost of power approved by the P.U.C. was less than what they included in their submission.  So when we subtracted the amount they were like about five million dollars short.  The next thing B.E.L. didn’t account for is that they’re projecting for the cost of power in the next six months to be higher than what was approved by the P.U.C. in the last ARP [Annual Review Proceedings].  That’s about almost five million dollars again, so that if we didn’t account for that then at the next rate review we would still be making up for the cost of power.  So basically what is happening is that the cost of power for the next six months is still expected to be higher than what was approved by the P.U.C.”

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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