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Joined: Nov 2002
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In yesterdays News: Independent Expert recommends price hikes for B.E.L.[/u] and the proposed increase is about 8%.

Today: [u]B.E.L. not thrilled with expert's recommendations[/u] When Belize Electricity Limited made its annual rate application, the company said skyrocketing oil prices mandated a thirteen point four percent increase in the price of power. The P.U.C., in an initial decision that may have had more to do with politics and public opinion than math, said an emphatic no to any rise in rates. Now that the independent expert, appointed under the regulatory rules, has recommended a seven point nine percent hike, where do we stand? Today News Five sat down with B.E.L. Chief Executive Officer Lynn Young to ask if he could live with the expert's plan.

So when we follow this recommendation it will be a victory for the GOB and a defeat for Fortis? WRONG! This is how we get an increase forced without embarrassment for GOB - don't forget, we already have the most expensive electricity in the world with the poorest quality and service!

Fortis is from Canada if I'm correct, and power over there costs US$ cents 6.18 per kilowatt hour (see: [u]Wikipedia) while we are paying (without the increase) about US$ cents 24.8 per kilowatt hour (source: my electricity bill) - that's right about four times as much!


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Electricity workers accuse B.E.L. of being "greedy" and "unethical"

Belize Electricity Limited has been taking a lot of heat from consumers ever since it requested an increase in rates. But tonight the company is taking flack from its own employees. A press release issued today by the Belize Energy Workers Union lambasted B.E.L., calling the application for price hikes (quote) "not only greedy, but a moral and unethical contempt of the Belizean electrical energy consumer." End quote. B.E.W.U. also criticized the company for what it refers to as the illegal termination of veteran employee and union negotiator, Sheryl Cuthkelvin. The release goes on to accuse the utility of breeching several articles of an existing union agreement and playing dirty by refusing to sign a collective bargaining agreement unless the union drops its request for a four-point five percent salary increase for non-management employees.

In response, B.E.L. fired off its own release this afternoon, vehemently denying the allegations. According to B.E.L., the B.E.W.U. is unjustly attacking the company's integrity and the union's now public sentiments never came up in any of the regular employee meetings they've been having, even though union executives were present. The company maintains that while it has denied a request by the union for a twenty-five percent across the board salary increase, as well as a four point five percent raise for non-management employees, in December it did offer a two percent increase in addition to a merit bonus. The union apparently passed up that opportunity and B.E.L. decided to give management the raise instead.

We're not sure what will happen next, but at the end of their release, the B.E.W.U. ominously warned that it will (quote) "exercise any of its many options to inform Mr. Lynn Young and B.E.L. that we are not prepared to play these games in accepting violations with impunity of our union contract."

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Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 13,675
Other company's that could service Belize electrical needs should start paying attention. Bids for replacing the BEL should be entertained by the new administration.
Long overdue
BEL surely has violated its agreement enough to get them out.

Last edited by elbert; 06/14/08 09:43 AM.

White Sands Dive Shop
Investment appears "below the line" and is not charged against profits. Are BEL investing all this money they are taking, or are they just pocketing it? Or are the genuine costs of such a small operation actually very high?

In other words, is it as simple as it appears? Anyone see/analyse their accounts?

#285671 06/20/08 09:54 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400
from a friend...
Here is my letter to the PUC, and below is an for more letters and additional samples. Please, everyone, take a few moments and write a letter.... a cost of .47kwh is outrageous!!

[email protected]

Dear PUC,

While the exercise of having an independent consultant review the request for a BEL rate increase was commendable, the outcome was a foregone conclusion. At this time of global economic crisis, EVERYONE needs to raise their prices to maintain a profit, precisely because the large corporations continue to pad their expenses and pay exorbitant salaries to their CEOs and fat dividends to their shareholders at the expense of the consumer. While corporations who make products that are luxury items or even nonessentials can get by with this because the open market will dictate the price, this is not true for utilities. Electricity has become necessary for meaningful existence and our very livelihoods! Without electricity we have no modern communications, no office jobs, very little food, miserable working conditions, no light to study at night, no fans to allow some sleep or light to keep us safe on the streets. Without electricity we have no medical equipment or safe medicine which needs refrigeration. Electricity is a necessity, and the prices need to be as low as possible so that every citizen of this country has access to its benefits!

What is especially heinous about BEL and Fortis asking for ANOTHER rate increase is that we GAVE them OUR RIVER to exploit so THEY can make their FAT PROFITS, higher from Belize than any other project they own!!! Can we start charging them RENT on our river and raise the price every year??

Another thing which needs to be addressed is their policy of cutting off service and charging for re-connection. They do this without knowing any circumstances or hardships of the customer, so pile on additional hardship on an already difficult situation!! Mr. Stanley and his fat cat shareholders have probably never spent a day without electricity in their lives and have no understanding and obviously no concern for the people of Belize who are providing them with their fat profits! It's time to stand up to Fortis and BEL and say NO to their GREED, and say YES to the struggling people of Belize!


Hi All,

We are sure you have all heard about the Independent Expert's Report saying BEL should get a rate hike. The PUC does not have to follow the opinion of the Expert.

Maybe by writing in, it will give them the backing they need to reject the advice of the expert and reject BEL's request for the rate hike.

Nothing has changed BEL is still hauling in the profits and we can't make ends meet.

On Friday's news, there was a report that BEL workers are demanding a wage increase. In their statement to the press, they called BEL's request for a rate hike unjustified. And they are correct.

In our last letter to the PUC, we specifically asked if the independent expert was going to be given all the comments that came in to the PUC; her response was "All comments form a part of the ARP file, from submission to the appointment of the Independent Expert. That file is to be shared with him/her upon appointment."

I took a quick look at the Report of the Independent Expert and the Appendices. I did not read the whole thing yet (it is long). But I did notice that in Section 3. Scope of Work, it states: "The Independent Expert will review the 'Initial Decision' of the PUC and the objections received by the PUC...."

But, in a quick review of the Report, I saw that he says he reviewed the documents provided him by the PUC and the PUC website and other publicly available documents and specifically mentions reviewing BEL's objections to the decision of the PUC.

I saw no reference to indicate he reviewed or gave any credit to the comments sent in.

We are writing the PUC again to say we believe they should reject the Independent Expert's Report and deny the request for a rate hike. We cannot believe that any reasonable person would conclude that BEL should get more money. We pay more than any Central American country, although BEL continually references us as being a Caribbean nation. We are NOT an island! They continue to make high profits and they continue to ignore exploring cheaper sources of electricity. And then Stan Marshall had the gall to threaten us.

We think this is disgraceful behavior and we will not be silent. The Chair of the PUC, John Avery, needs our support if he plans to reject the recommendations of the Independent Expert. Please write in once again. Let's keep the comments coming.


You can write something like you did before or something else. The important thing is to say we can't afford to give BEL more and they don't need it! Or use one of these as a sample.

Public Utilities Commission
#41 Gabourel Lane
P.O. Box 300
Belize City

Dear PUC,

The PUC was right to reject BEL's request for rate increases, and should reject continue to reject it despite the Report of the Independent Expert. Did that Expert even consider what the increase would do to us?

The PUC has a duty to protect the public from price gouging and abuse by BEL's monopoly. They don't even try to keep rates down because they don't have to. They expect a rate increase every time they ask for it.

Please stick to your decision and reject their request.

Joined: Nov 2002
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Originally Posted by 7 News Belize

Originally Posted by 7 News Belize
PUC Forcing BEL To Give Customers $10.3 million Rebate

I think an apology from myself is in place for the performance of the PUC yesterday and for PM Dean Barrow, who seems do be very busy doing the "right thing", but above all congratulations are in place for Manuel Esquivel who clearly hasn't lost his teeth, for negociating the deal with the Mexican utility company "Comission Federal de Electricidad":

It is not 50% discount as promised by the UDP during elections, but I for one never believed that would be possible (although I admit that I did hope so). Although I haven't read the Forty-four page document out...en decisions taken by the Commission (yet), I congratulate the PUC, PM and the GOB - job well done!!

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