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Jul 17, 2020

Was Your Monthly Light Bill Being Averaged During SOE?

Over the past few weeks, consumers have been complaining of exorbitant electricity bills, particularly during the three-month state of emergency when many were at home for the mandatory lockdown. B.E.L. has said that in most cases, energy consumption increased during those weeks because household appliances, including fans and air conditioners were being used regularly. But there is also the notion that B.E.L. was averaging your monthly light bill because the company was not sending out meter readers to take down individual readings. So where does the P.U.C. come into play amid these concerns?  According to Chairman John Avery, the COVID-19 pandemic, especially during the lockdown, created an unusual circumstance for B.E.L. and other utility companies to carry out their work.

 

John Avery, Chairman, Public Utilities Commission

John Avery

“If BEL was sending people, and I’m not saying this is exactly the case for everyone, you know, but if BEL was sending people to your house, the same people who were complaining about an average bill may complain that you’re sending persons to my house and exposing me to the virus.  So, you know, it’s unusual circumstances and we have to do unusual things in order to keep going.”

 

Reporter

“But should you, above all practices, favor the consumer over the monopoly utility which has annual gross revenues of close to two hundred million dollars?”

 

John Avery

“Of which about thirty to thirty-five percent is for them.”

 

Reporter

“But I am saying that you are not an apologist for the monopoly utility company, you are a defender of the consumer.”

 

John Avery

“Well not necessarily, we have an obligation to the consumer and to the licensees.  The consumer needs a service, it’s the licensee that provides the service, so the role of the PUC is to find a fair middle ground between the two.  We can’t favor one over the other.”


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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