PUC’s Initial Decision on Proposed Water Rate Increase

John Avery

The Belize Electricity Limited announced earlier this week that it will be reducing electricity rates. But that saving will not be in your pockets for long because the other utility company, Belize Water Services will be increasing water rates. The Public Utilities Commission issued an initial decision today approving the increase in water rates. B.W.S.L. had applied for an increase of five percent from April first of this year to March thirty-first, 2017.  It also recommends a seven point five percent increase from April 2017 to March 2020 to support the implementation of the proposed business plan.  P.U.C. chairman John Avery commented on the proposed rate increase.

John Avery, Chairman, Public Utilities Commission

“We have a legal obligation to ensure the company remains viable and so we could be forced then to increase rates so that the company reaches the level of revenues it deserves, or that is fair.  Now the thing is if people start using less water then certainly we expect the operational expenditure then to go down so much.  So we would look at all of this but then at the end of the day if we are forced to increase the rates at that time then we do.  Conversely, if they sell a lot more water than we expect and everything else holds the same so that their revenues are much higher than we think is fair then we reduce the rates in favor of the consumers, you know.  But really we are setting an average for the five years.  If we see that each year, what we have for each year it comes close to their performance then there is no need to touch the rates, we’ll just wait until something materially different changes.”

Reporter

“And on average the rates as they currently stand is that comparable to other countries in our region, the Caribbean and Central America?”

John Avery:

“Well, let me say, Belize has and there are different reasons for it, if you compare the performance of BWS to most water companies in the region and I am talking Central America or the Caribbean, BWS performs fairly well given the topography and everything else that they have to deal with they perform fairly well.”

Channel 5