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#353227 - 10/03/09 01:17 AM Water going up?
Short Offline
Belize Water Services wants to increase rates

Just when you thought the cost of living was unbearable, well you might have to dig even deeper into your pockets to cough up more money – that is if the Belize Water Services gets its way. The Public Utilities Commission, P.U.C., is considering a Full Tariff Review Proceeding application. In lay man’s terms, B.W.S. is asking for an increase in water rates. So brace up because the B.W.S. is applying for a whopping twenty-five percent increase. The company says that it has invested heavily, some thirty million dollars over the past five years. This was done to implement a Customer Codes of Practice for transparency, computers, and to expand and refurbish assets, improve treatment plants, storage tanks and pumping stations. The company’s clientele now stands at around forty five thousand. It also says that the company has reached a point where it sustaining itself is in jeopardy due to economic factors since it does not earn enough to continue to provide the level of services to the growing population without help. If it gets the approval for the increase notwithstanding low-income customers who use five hundred gallons or less per month would not be affected. The last time the company applied for an increase in rates was in April of 2004 when it received a seventeen percent increase. The P.U.C. has already begun to review the application since Thursday when they received it. That decision will be given at the end of a six month process. That would make the increase effective in April of 2010. The P.U.C. will hold a public meeting on October thirteenth at the Princess Hotel on this critical matter.

Live and let live

#353828 - 10/07/09 09:15 AM Re: Water going up? [Re: Short]
Marty Offline
Sanitation services remain unpaid, but the Belize Water Services Limited is asking the Public Utilities Commission to approve an increase in water rates. The P.U.C. says a determination will be made after following a full tariff review. News Five Jose Sanchez reports from a P.U.C. press conference which had its own side show.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting
The Public Utilities Commission has received an application from Belize Water Services Limited to review its rate structure. B.W.S. says it intends to invest in its infrastructure, but the business plan calls for increases in water rates, which could increase consumer bills by as much as twenty-five percent.

Leroy Almendarez, Director of Administration and Tariffs, P.U.C.
“The plan submitted by B.W.S. provides for some ninety-two point five million in investments for the provision of water services over the full tariff period and for some eight point six million in investments for the provision of sewer services in its authorized area of supply and some fourteen point nine million in other investments for a total of one hundred and sixteen point one million. B.W.S. expects some twenty point eight million of this total to be funded by developers and some forty-four point three million to be funded by debt. The business plan also projects operational expenditures and other costs related to the provision of services, ranging from thirty-three point six million for the first tariff period of the full tariff period to thirty-eight point three million for the last annual tariff period. The schedules and tariffs approved by the P.U.C. shall become effective on April first, 2010 irregardless of the date on which the P.U.C.’s final decision is issued.”

Alvan Haynes, Chief Executive Officer of Belize Water Services Limited, was present at the P.U.C.’s briefing.

Alvan Haynes, C.E.O., Belize Water Services
“We need money in order to operate, in order to deliver water to each one of you and to each consumer out there. We need to have funds which allow us to operate efficiently and to continue to provide the level of service that we’ve been providing.”

Jose Sanchez
“But what has changed for the increase?”

Alvan Haynes
“What has changed? Simply put the company has not had increase since 2005. The last significant increase was in 2004. Inflation alone since 2004, accumulates to seventeen percent plus. So that alone says there is a seventeen percent increase in cost over the period and that excludes the bumps from fuel prices, which plays a significant role to some of our costs.”

The question and answer session with the Water Services C.E.O. had to be continued outside because the P.U.C.’s Almendarez signaled to his Public Relations Officer to end the media session with Haynes.

Voice of Anne Wade: Pr., P.U.C.
“Mr. Haynes we are very happy with your presence—unexpected presence—to provide an opportunity for the press to chat with you on the submission by B.W.S. Our press conference is finished.”

Jose Sanchez
“Mr. Haynes do you think the P.U.C. was surprised by your appearance at today’s press briefing?”

Alvan Haynes
“It’s hard to tell, I think they sent us a notification so obviously, the application concerns us and it is in our interest to be present.”

Jose Sanchez
“But we’re standing outside doing this interview. They wanted you to be seen but not to be heard.”

Alvan Haynes
“No, I think they basically allotted a certain time for their people and their facilities so the time is up.”

Jose Sanchez
“So you don’t see it as a potential bone of contention in the way things might pan out in the future regarding this rate increase?”

Alvan Haynes
“No, we have the right to call our own press conference if we so desire. So our view is that we wanted to make sure what was covered at this press conference and then decide if it was worth just calling a press conference or just simply putting out our press release that we have prepared.”

Jose Sanchez
“When it comes to the classification, how would you decide who would be charged what when it comes to the different rates?”

Alvan Haynes
“Okay, the classifications we are proposing are simple; residential, commercial and others. Commercial would be customers who use in excess of ten thousand gallons per month for water and obviously are using water for commercial purpose. Residentials are obvious. The none-residential would include government, it would include normal business, retail stores, doctors, lawyers, churches, NGO’s etcetera.”

The rate increase is not final and is subject to public discussions. If approved, it will come on line in April 2010. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

#354019 - 10/08/09 09:58 AM Re: Water going up? [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
Opposition calls for BWS to withdraw request for rate increase

Water rates; are they going up? Well, if the opposition had its way, it wouldn’t. Last Friday, we reported that the Belize Water Services Limited is applying for an increase in rates… not an ordinary increase, it’s a twenty-five percent hike. The Public Utilities Commission earlier this week held a press conference to say that the application will be reviewed shortly. Well tonight, the People’s United Party is calling on the P.U.C. to reject the company’s request to increase rates. The release says, “B.W.S.L. has applied to the P.U.C. for an increase in rates by a whopping twenty five percent…”and that, the company, is “owned by the Belizean people and controlled by the Barrow Government. As such this request for a rate increase is directly from the Barrow Administration.” The opposition party calls on the Barrow Government to demand that utility company withdraws its request for a rate increase.

Channel 5

#354028 - 10/08/09 10:40 AM Re: Water going up? [Re: Marty]
beachbumin Offline
Whatever happened to the rate decrease from BEL that the Barrow administration promised? Paper tigers. Whatever happened with freeing up VOIP from BTL that was part of the reasoning behind the government takeover of BTL?

#354030 - 10/08/09 10:43 AM Re: Water going up? [Re: beachbumin]
Peter Jones Offline
Water rates are much higher on AC than on the mainland, and the technical issues are quite different. It would be inequitable for the same %age increase to be applied across the board.


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