The Public Utilities Commission has approved a rate increase of 10.6% for BWSL. That means your water bill will increase by 10.6% effective April first – that is if no one objects to the rate increase. That’s 10 cents more on every dollar – but it is less than the 25% or 25 cents on the dollars that BWSL had asked for. Today, Chairman of the PUC John Avery explained the decision and what went into making it.

John Avery, PUC Chairman
“We’ve approved an overall increase of 10.6% across the board. Our decision is the rate that we approved is a rate that we think is fair given all the circumstances surrounding this submission made by BWSL. We do our best to come up with the fairest rate and affordability is always a major consideration. If we don’t believe consumers can afford certain investments then we can’t approve it because it makes no sense. Why have the company invest in something that people cannot pay for.

The commission looked at the business plan proposed by BWSL. We reviewed the investments and where we felt those investments were necessary or feasible and prudent we approved them for inclusion in the rates and where we were uncertain about certain investments, we decided to leave those out of consideration for rates for the time being.”

Interested parties have until December second to submit their objections in writing to the PUC. If no objections are forthcoming, the new rate will come into effect on April first 2010. The Tariff Review proceeding approves a 10% rate of return – which is lower than the minimum 12% which most utilities seek.

The commission removed from consideration $57 million in investment, $47 million of that slated for Ambergris Caye. The reasoning is that the Caye project is just getting a feasibility study and if the project does prove feasible then it would receive CDB funding and pay for itself without causing any burden to rate payers. An interesting note is that water loss, known as non revenue water is just below 40% in Belize City – the highest in the country.

Channel 7