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Belizeans will start paying lower electricity rates starting in February of
next year. That is according to Prime Minister Dean Barrow. The Prime
Minister made the announcement in his New Year’s message to the nation
which began airing yesterday evening. The Public Utilities Commission is
expected to give its final decision on a full tariff review application by
government owned Belize Electricity Limited on January 31 with the rate
approval due a couple of months after. But the Prime Minister said he
intends to bring the new rates into effect much earlier.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“But we are a government in a hurry to do good things and the ease to the
consumer, the ease in the cost of living, the ease to business and industry
and agriculture cannot wait. Thus government will amend the law to
implement from the very next day February 1st, 2012 this historic decrease
in what Belizeans pay for electricity.”

Prime Minister Barrow also announced an economic stimulus package intended
to put more money into the hands of those who need it more, the poor. That
will be done through government’s acquisition of non-performing mortgages
owned by the Belize Social Security Board.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“I announce today that government will purchase all mortgages of $50,000
and under owned by the Belize Social Security Board. These number 780 and
have a total aggregate value of $17,000,000 dollars. Government will there
after write off these mortgages, forgiving the householders all of their
loan obligations and putting that money at their disposal to spend on the
economy and generate more activity.”

The Prime Minister also announced the appointment of a business development
facilitator to be able to oversee a new relationship being forged between
government and the business sector.


Marty Offline

You'll Know Your New Light Rate By Next Thursday

By next week Thursday or Friday - you should know what the Public Utilities Commission recommends for a decrease in your electricity rate.

That preliminary decision is not due until the sixteenth of January but it will be out by the 12th. - just in time for a House Meeting next Friday.

So, is that mere coincidence, or is it executive pressure placed upon the regulatory body?

That's what we asked the Prime Minister today:..

Jules Vasquez
"We know that the PUC is, and should be, rigorously independent, but with election nearing - at least one for sure - it seems that - is there some meddling in the process of PUC - or some influence in the process of the PUC in terms of their having that meeting, then you're having House Meeting the next day?"

Prime Minister Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize
"No, the time - the process - the timeline on the law means that the PUC, in fact, would have to do its preliminary decision by the 16th. The fact that it now appears, based on a conversation I had with Mr. Avery, that the PUC might be able to do it by next Thursday, does not any sense depart from the timeline. The PUC never said, 'We will do it on the 16th.' The PUC conceded that we have to do it by the 16th. The fact of the proximity between when now I hope and expect they will make their announcement, and the House Meeting, is, I would think, purely coincidental."

Jules Vasquez
"A happy one at that."

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"A happy coincidence - no, no - life is real, and I am anxious that in fact this reduction of rates, which is a certainty, and which initially has nothing to do with the PUC in the sense that it is BEL itself, in making its submission to the PUC, that has said, 'Yes, lower rates are possible, and we in fact are prepared to live with lower rates to this extent. I want that to be consummated; I want the decision to be finalized. Government is anxious, and there is absolutely nothing wrong, and there can be nothing wrong in Government say to the PUC, 'You have until a certain time. Can you try to accelerate it as much as possible?' I don't think anyone can quarrel with that."

Jules Vasquez
"Now, 3.4% is only about 1 1/2 cents on the 44 cents per kilowatt hour."

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"Let me say realistically, that I am certainly hoping that the PUC will find that the facts justify, or can support, an even greater reduction, and I would leave it at that."

Channel 7


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