Renegotiation w/Mexico means cheaper electricity

Like much of the world, Belize has been taking a
licking from skyrocketing
oil prices, but beginning next week, thanks to the
renegotiation of B.E.L.'s
power purchase agreement with Mexico, we will be
enjoying some
significant relief. Approximately fifty-seven percent
of Belize's electricity is
provided by Mexico's Comision Federal de Electricidad.
Under the original
agreement with C.F.E., the price of that power jumped
sixty-three percent
during 2002 and threatened to trigger corresponding
hikes in B.E.L.'s
charges to consumers. In recent negotiations, however,
B.E.L. and Belize
government negotiators pointed out that industrial
rates in Mexico have
increased only twenty-two percent during that same
period. Under the
terms of a new agreement about to be finalised, any
fluctuation in prices
B.E.L. pays will be similar to that charged to
customers within Mexico. The
result is a price reduction to B.E.L. retroactive to
January first, 2002. That
three million U.S. dollar annual saving will be
applied to B.E.L.'s rate
stabilisation account. It will not only eliminate the
prospect of higher
consumer charges, but will allow B.E.L. to extend the
subsidized social rate
of twenty-one cents per kilowatt-hour to an additional
fourteen thousand
customers. It is expected that on April first the
threshold for the discounted
price will be extended from households using fifty or
less kilowatt-hours per
month to a new level of one hundred and twenty-five
kilowatt hours.