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Nov 18, 2009

PUC amends BWSL business plan and rates proposal

Story PictureThe Public Utilities Commission has reviewed a multi-million dollar business plan submitted by the Belize Water Services Limited and has approved a water rate increase of ten point six percent without changes to any current fee structure. Today the P.U.C. explained that it also made changes to B.W.S.L.’S business plan and proposed that operational expenditures be increased by twenty-five percent rather than the sixty percent sought by the water company. The P.U.C. also recommended that vehicle and mobile plant expenses be reduced from five million nine hundred and eighty eight million dollars to three million seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars. And according to P.U.C. Chairman John Avery, the P.U.C. also approved the implementation of a new rate setting methodology for B.W.S.L.

John Avery, Chairman, P.U.C.
“We’ve approved an overall increase of ten point six percent across the board. We decided not to reduce the minimum bill as BWS suggested. We approved a business plan for BWS, we approved certain expenditures. We feed those into this R.S.M. (Rate Setting Mechanism) that we are applying and that produced the ten point six percent increase. We decided it would be prudent to set some OPEX (operational expenses) targets for them and to hold them to performing in a manner that will achieve the target we set for them. The commission believes that BWS must exercise a little more control over its operational expenditure and we didn’t feel that the business plan or prevailing conditions supported an increase of sixty percent in that item over five years. In addition to that we felt some of the investments that we approved and some of the increased activity in maintenance and that sort of thing should serve actually to reduce expenditure and not add to increasing expenditure. So but as usual these will be reviewed at subsequent annual review proceedings and if the commission believes that any adjustment is necessary those will be met at those times.”

The deadline for any additional comments or objections to the PUC’s initial decision is December second. If there are no objections, the ten point six percent increase will become effective first of April, 2010. However, if B.W.S.L. rejects the decision of the PUC, both groups must then seek redress from an independent arbitrator then the following decision would be final.


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