Back in the bad old days, when Fortis ran BEL, the Canadian company got an injunction against the Public Utilities Commission.
But everything has changed since then, and yesterday BEL announced that it has moved to lift the injunction.
That would free up the PUC to do its job, which is review BEL's performance and adjust rates, hopefully downward.
Today we asked the PUC's Public relations and consumer affairs officer Desiree Cain what's next:
Desiree Cain - Public Relations/Consumer Affairs Officer, PUC
"Well it basically means that we move forward. As we all know, the PUC cannot be involved in any sort of back and forth with any utility company. And we have been in a sort of deadlock with BEL since 2008. So this is very significant because we move forward from here. We want production. We want productivity, and this is a good start."
"When you say move forward, what specifically can the PUC embark upon which it was restrained from doing before?"
"Well as you know, the last full tariff review proceeding that we did was in July 2008 until June 2009. Since the injunction, we haven't been able to do that, so we now we can move full-speed forward, and that will begin in January of next year. Hopefully by July, the rates will be determined which will be implemented in July."
"Okay, so now, the Prime Minister recently announced on the 21st of September that there will be a rate reduction. Might that rate reduction, or promised rate reduction, come out of the next FTRP - full tariff review period?"
"Definitely we cannot say at this time, Jules, we'll have to wait until after the full tariff review proceeding is done."
According to a BEL release, Legal expenses relating to the appeal of the 2008 Final Tariff Decision and other regulatory matters have amounted to over $4 million dollars in legal costs.