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Dec 30, 2013

B.E.L. and P.U.C. haggle over a one cent reduction in electricity rates

When we last reported on Belize Electricity Limited it was because there was an announcement on a reduction on electricity rates for the fiscal year, 2014. That was after B.E.L. made a submission to the Public Utilities Commission to reduce the mean electricity rate by three cents per kilowatt hour.  But the PUC decided to reduce rates by four cents for six months.  While the reduction is a relief on the pockets of consumers, B.E.L. says that the extra one cent will affect its overall revenue.  The PUC, on the other hand, justifies the reduction saying that the money will be realized in the second half of the fiscal year.  According to PUC Chairman John Avery, the proposed reduction is based on savings of almost thirteen million dollars, as well as on the sales of two hundred and forty kilowatt hours of electricity in 2013.


John Avery, Chairman, Public Utilities Commission

John Avery

“B.E.L. had some fairly significant savings in the cost of power and so they made this submission that we can now ease back with the rates because of the reduction in cost of power during 2013, and some further reductions that we expect in the near future.  So they made a submission.  They presented us with figures going up to 2018, I think, and based on all of that they recommended a reduction in the rates of an average of three cents.  Now, the amendment we’re doing, under the bylaws we’re allowed to amend the rates strictly based on the cost of power, not on any investment or anything being done in the future.  And the rates are to be amended solely for the six months upcoming, which is January to June of the upcoming year, in this case this 2014.  Now we looked at the savings that B.E.L. realized and up to the end of December, projected to be about ten, let me get the exact figure to you, something like twelve million, actually, in savings.  Twelve point eight million dollars in savings.  But in addition to that, B.E.L. sold over ten million kilowatt hours than was projected, so that also increased their revenue.  So, last year we looked at all of that when we amended the rates and so we thought it only fair that we look at it this year.  Now when we look at everything that contributed to lower cost of power in 2013 and increased sales and in fact B.E.L. is projecting increased sales again going forward, over what we projected in the ARP.  When you look at all of that we’re talking about perhaps sixteen, seventeen million dollars combined savings and increased sales for B.E.L.  The four cents that we reduced the rates or we intend to reduce the rates for the six months, basically it’s on sales of two hundred and forty kilowatt hours.”

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