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#420899 - 11/03/11 08:23 AM PM Hints At Lower Electricity Rates  
Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline
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Your light bill may be coming down early in 2012. That's the big news coming out of the Prime Minister's quarterly press conference held today at the Biltmore.

As we've reported, in early October, BEL had lifted the injunction that its previous owners, Fortis had taken out which prevented the Public Utilities Commission from conducting the long overdue rate setting exercise.

Well that rate review will commence shortly, with BEL making its submission to the PUC by the first of December.

And by early January, the PUC should have a decision - and the PM made it clear where he hopes the process is heading:

Prime Minister Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize

"We hope to have new electricity rates - new tariffs agreed upon by the end of January 2012. Now clearly this exercise is an objective one, and I can't pre-suppose, and I can't interfere with the discretion and authority of the Public Utilities Commission, but you don't have to be very bright to know that I certainly would not have insisted that the process be put in train if I did not feel very confident that contrary to what Fortis was saying, this rate-setting exercise can produce a lowering of electricity rates for the Belizean People. What happens under the law, under the regulations as they now stand, is that after new rates have been fixed, there is a period that has to be gone through. There is a waiting period before the rates can take effect. Well, if at the end of the exercise the news is as good as I hope it will be, we will change the law to make the new rates effective immediately upon the decision being handed down."

Channel 7

#420905 - 11/03/11 08:32 AM Re: PM Hints At Lower Electricity Rates [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,799
Marty Offline
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Electricity Rates to dip next year

Though the Prime Minister says general elections will likely follow after the 2012 March municipal elections, the standard pre-election quality of life packages are on the way. The Prime Minister announced that he had spoken to CEO of Belize Electricity Limited and the Public Utilities Commission about implementing a rate review. The PM believes that once completed, citizens will see lower electricity rates possibly by the end of January 2012.

Dean Barrow

“It’s now been agreed that the rate review exercise will commence. How it begins is that B.E.L. makes its submission to the P.U.C. by first of December. Thereafter, the P.U.C. should have a preliminary decision by January. By early January if there are no objections to the P.U.C.’s preliminary decision; that decision will become final within ten or fifteen days. I am not sure of the exact time frame, but we hope to have new electricity rates, new tariffs agreed by the end of January 2012. Now clearly this exercise is an objective one and I can’t presuppose and I can’t interfere with the discretion and authority of the P.U.C. But you don’t have to be very bright to know that I certainly would not have insisted that the process be put in trade if I didn’t feel confident in contrary to what Fortis was saying, this rate setting exercise can produce a lowering of electricity rates for the Belizean people. There is a waiting period before the rates can take effect. Well if at the end of the exercise the news is as good as I hope it will be, we will change the law to make the new rates effective immediately upon the decision being handed in.”

Channel 5

#420917 - 11/03/11 09:50 AM Re: PM Hints At Lower Electricity Rates [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 52
BirdyL Offline
BirdyL  Offline
hope so.

#427651 - 01/13/12 08:22 AM Re: PM Hints At Lower Electricity Rates [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,799
Marty Offline
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How Low Can You Go?: PUC Takes BEL Rate Down

The PUC has announced its initial decision on electricity rates - and it's good news for consumers, probably better than you might have expected.

In December BEL proposed a reduction of 3.4% in electricity rates. Well, this evening the PUC announced that it has approved a reduction of 6.14% - that is close to three cents per kilowatt hour - which would go down from 44 cents to 41.3 cents. It may not seem like a whole lot, but in a time when oil prices are high - it's quite a bit.

We stress, though, it is only an initial decision. If there are no objections from the state owned BEL - (and how could there be?) - or interested parties representing users of 10% of the electricity supply within two weeks' time, then the new rates will become effective the first of February.

The proposed new rate is expected to feature prominently in tomorrow's House Sitting - as it is seen as the final piece of the Prime Minister's pre-election populist package.

Channel 7

#427659 - 01/13/12 08:32 AM Re: PM Hints At Lower Electricity Rates [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,799
Marty Offline
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Electricity rates to be lowered

The prime minister has announced a number of incentives just before the March seventh municipal elections and general elections to follow. Just before news time, the Public Utility Commission (P.U.C.) released its Initial Decision on a reduction of electricity rates. And from the looks of it, it may not hurt your pocket if you turn on more lights and leave on some electrical appliances a bit longer. The final decision will be taken by January twenty-seventh, but the proposal is to cut down electricity rates by six point fourteen percent. According to the P.U.C. release “If this initial decision meets no objections from the licensee and/or interested parties representing users of at least ten percent of electricity supply by January twenty seventh, 2012, it will be adopted as the final decision.” If all goes according to this review, the rates would become effective on February first. The rate reduction schedule shows that the bracket for the social rate would change from fifty to sixty kilowatt and cost would be reduced from twenty-six to twenty-four cents per kilowatt hour. For residential customers, who consume zero to fifty kilowatt hours, the rate decreases from thirty-five cents to thirty three cents. For residential customers who consume from fifty-one to two hundred kilowatt hours, the rate reduces from forty-four cents to forty-one cents. For residential customers who consume greater than two hundred kilowatt hours, the rate decreases from forty-seven cents to forty-four cents. The minimum charge for residential customers has also reduced from forty three cents to forty cents. Commercial customers who consume up to ten thousand kilowatt hours experience a three cent reduction to forty two cents. In this same class customers who consume from ten thousand and one to twenty thousand kilowatt hours will receive a three cent reduction to forty one cents per kilowatt hour. And those commercial customers who utilize more than twenty thousand kilowatt hours receive a three cent reduction to forty cents per kilowatt hour. The entire schedule eight with industrial and street light ratings can be downloaded at

Channel 5

#427781 - 01/14/12 09:04 AM Re: PM Hints At Lower Electricity Rates [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,799
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

PUC Explains New Social Rate Status

Earlier on you heard the Prime Minister outline the proposals for the decrease in electricity rates - an average of about three cents lower per kilowatt hour.

He added one wrinkle we hadn't reported last night - that the social rate will be increased to include about one thousand more people. That social rate is set at about 24 cents per kilowatt hour - so it's a big break.

Today, John Avery, the PUC Chairman explained how they arrived at that figure:..

John Avery, PUC Chairman
"Increasing the threshold for the social rate from 50 kilowatt hours to 60 kilowatt hours per month, and we expect, it's just an estimate; it's something we would have to review with BEL going forward. We expect that should add about a thousand customers to the social rate class."

Jules Vasquez
"What will be paid per kilowatts?"

John Avery, PUC Chairman
"The new rate is 24 cents. Previously they were paying 26 cents, but there is a minimum bill of $4.00 so if you use less than the amount of kilowatt house that will exceed $4.00, you still pay $4.00."

Jules Vasquez
"We've interviewed you a number of times; you usually broadcasted since the rate was blocked on January 2009. That was significant decrease, I think 9 percent."

John Avery, PUC Chairman
"That was more like 15 percent, 12 to 15 percent, I can't recall exactly but it was around that range. "

Jules Vasquez
"It was a huge decrease, it never was effected and since then the meter has been running, BEL has been, as we understand it, accumulating money that really was owed to consumers. So where is that money now? "

John Avery, PUC Chairman
"Jules and I think I answer this question previously but we set rate in that decision up to 2009. That decision was effected up to June 30th, 2009. With respect to the CPRSA, the rates and the regulated value like the cost of power components of the rates. So we had never set anything for the periods there after."

Jules Vasquez
"I am completely lost forgive me, indulge me. Do they owe us or they don't owe us?"

John Avery, PUC Chairman
"They owed 23.1 million dollars at the end of June 30th, 2009. That is factored in the rates going forward, that helped reduce the rates."

Jules Vasquez

John Avery, PUC Chairman
"But the amount isn't 50 million dollars that is what I am saying."

Jules Vasquez
"Ok, but I got that figure from you."

John Avery, PUC Chairman
"No you got that figure from BEL, we had an interview right here when I was explaining to you, that figure was not from me that figure that figure is from BEL."

We stress that the new rate package is only the PUC's initial decision - and it can still be objected to by BEL or interested parties representing 10% of electricity usage.

So will BEL object? Today a company spokesperson told us that quote, "It is important that BEL understands the underlying assumptions of the PUC's decision. To this end we will be providing the PUC with more information, and we have asked for a meeting with the commission."

Sure sounds like they are hedging, but, we note that today the Prime Minister announced it as a done deal, no less than a new year's gift - with the new rates to go into effect on February the first.

We'll see how that goes, but the process so far has been revealing. According to Chairman Avery, they've gotten unprecedented disclosure and access from BEL which has illuminated a few dubious practices of the former owners:..

John Avery, PUC Chairman
"We did have better access to information this time which means we had a lot more information to deal with. And so now we could verify that a lot of what we had suspected was happening inappropriately was in fact happening, and so we had far more issues to deal with this time. We had far more things to consider; like for example, what we found is when BEL orders transformers they capitalize them immediately as they reach Belize."

Jules Vasquez
"As they reached at the Port?"

John Avery
"We basically, under our rate setting methodology, we say you are to get a return on useful assets, assets that are being used that are providing services to consumers. If you have transformers sitting in your stores compound 2-3 years that isn't providing a benefit to consumers and so..."

Jules Vasquez
"I am told they had over 100 transformers."

John Avery
"I can't tell you by numbers but base of the figures we are seeing there are tens of millions of dollars over the years invested in transformers, and there are people here who have worked with BEL - had major roles with BEL and they believe that BEL needs to purchase all that amount of transformers every year."

Channel 7

#427786 - 01/14/12 09:16 AM Re: PM Hints At Lower Electricity Rates [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,799
Marty Offline
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Prime Minister Dean Barrow today applauded the initial decision handed down by the Public Utilities Commission on Thursday, approving a six point one percent reduction in electricity rates. The Prime Minister was speaking during today’s meeting of the House of Representatives in Belmopan.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“On behalf of the government and people of Belize I welcome that decision and greet it with applause and with jubilation. The short summary of that decision is that electricity rates will now go down by 3 cents per kilowatt hour. In percentage term this is a 6.14% reduction to consumer and this is the greatest New Year gift over which this administration is presiding over Mr. Speaker. While it is the greatest, it is not the only gift.”

That other gift, the Prime Minister would further explained, is the multi-million dollar write off of loans to the Belize Social Security board by over seven hundred persons. Mr. Barrow told the House that the slashing of the electricity bills for consumers is an unprecedented achievement and he called is a jewel in the crown of government’s pro-people initiative. Prime Minister Dean Barrow “Mr. Speaker every sector of the public of the economy will benefit. The residential consumers, the industrial consumers, the commercial consumers and of course as is always the case with an administration that is always for the people, the poorest will benefit most. And that is because Mr. Speaker the PUC’s decision adds over 1,000 persons to the list of those who pay only a social rate for their electricity consumption. That social rate is currently an already low 26 cents per kilowatt hour as opposed to the average of about 40 cents per kilowatt hour that the regular residential consumer pays but that 26 cents social rate will go down even further now to 24 cents and as I said the number of around 7,000 or so persons that pays only the social rate will increase to 8,000 persons.” While the new electricity rate would in the normal course of things take effect in August, the Minister of Public Utilities has already signed a Statutory Instrument, and tabled a motion today in the House to bring the new rates into effect on February First. In presenting the motion, on the electricity rate reduction, the Prime Minister told the House that the country will remember that none of it would have been possible if not for the bold action of UDP to nationalize BEL.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“It is the case Mr. Speaker that the former owners of BEL were never going to give us any reduction, in fact they tied us up in court and got injunctions to block any possibility of lower rate and not only were they not going to take our light bills down, in fact and to the contrary they were determined to actually increase our rates and in a major punitive way. As all the world knows they actually threatened and were preparing to cut off our power supply and plunge the nation into darkness if we did not knuckle under to their blackmail. But the United Democratic Party braved local and international wrath to do the courageous thing, the nationalistic thing, the right thing. Today is therefore the sweetest possible consummation and vindication of Belizean courage, of a signal Belizean brave heart, historical watershed.”

The Prime Minister explained that when considered, the reduction of electricity rates will result in twelve million dollars in annual savings to consumers. This he says is new money in disposable income to help with personal spending and economic regeneration. In short, the Prime Minister says the new electricity rate is one hell of a stimulus package.



While the Belize Electricity Limited had proposed a decrease of three percent in electricity rates, the regulatory body, the Public Utilities Commission, PUC, has made its initial decision, which more than doubles that reduction. The PUC’s decision is for a six point fourteen percent reduction in rates. Love News spoke with Chairman of the PUC, John Avery, who said that there were a number of factors that resulted in the PUC’s decision.

John Avery – Chairman, PUC
“BEL they have a lot of different cost factors that goes into determination of rates; we reviewed them we adjusted some of them upward and we some of them downward and we had some corrections for previous years so all of those put together combined to result in the lower rates. What you need to understand is that we were setting rates in this period for 2009 to 2016 and some of the period has already elapsed but we did not approve any rates for those. Because BEL has already billed consumers at a certain rate we had to approve that exact rate because we cannot go back and bill customers again so by charging those rates over the last three years we determined that in certain years they collected more than perhaps they deserved and then in others they collected less than they deserved. We looked at all of that, we ended up with some corrections that we applied going forward so those help to reduce the rates a little further. We had increase for example their operational expenditure so that took it up back again a little bit but then we decreased certain components of their assets and that took it back down a little again so there is a lot of factors that went into determination of the rates and they all combined to produce a slightly larger decrease than BEL had asked for. The licensee and any interested party representing users of at least 10% of electricity have an opportunity now to make comments and to object to the decision. If they do then we have to appoint an independent expert to review everything and that prolongs the rate review proceeding another three months however if there are no objections then the PUC is required by law to adopt this initial as the final decision.

Marion Ali - Reporter
How long before you project all of this to come to an end?

John Avery – Chairman, PUC
“They have 15 days, we put this decision on the 12th people have up until the 27th, the two parties have up until the 27th to object. I know the Government has made some amendments to the bylaws that would allow us to have those rates come into effect February 1, assuming there are no objections.”


#427787 - 01/14/12 09:20 AM Re: PM Hints At Lower Electricity Rates [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 295
Dr Buzzard Offline
Dr Buzzard  Offline
rates are still too high

Dr Walkabout Buzzard

#427965 - 01/16/12 07:56 AM Re: PM Hints At Lower Electricity Rates [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,799
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

How the B.E.L. Rates were determined

Avery says that there are several factors that made their proposed reduction higher than B.E.L.’s application. One reason is that the utility company had gone to court to block the P.U.C. from conducting a rate review for 2009, which froze electricity rates even though the global price of oil reduced significantly. B.E.L. had challenged the tariff review of 2008, but the P.U.C. won that case in March, 2011. After government acquired B.E.L. later in the year, the remaining cases against the regulator were dropped, allowing for the recent rate review. According to Avery, the rates would have gone down from as far back as July 2009 and so B.E.L.’s debt to consumers was factored into their current decision on the rate reduction.

John Avery, Chairman/Director General, Public Utilities Commission

“The decision really is effective July first, 2009 but we just had to set the rates that were already in place then because we can’t go back and re-bill customers. But the new rates that we’ve set becomes effective February first, assuming that we get no objections. There are other reasons why we do this thing for February first but we’re assuming that we won’t get much objections and we probably won’t need to extend it but that is something we can’t say for certain, we have to wait until the twenty-seventh.”

Delahnie Bain

“Back when the P.U.C. and B.E.L. were in a back and forth in court, it came out at one point that B.E.L. owed—so to speak—thirty million or something like that to the customers. Where does that stand?”

John Avery

“B.E.L. made that statement several times; we never said that. And I’d just like to correct you; we were back and forth with B.E.L., B.E.L. was constantly taking us to court. Yeah, basically we set rates in 2008 and we determined regulated values in 2008 that were effective up to June thirty 2009. In that decision we said that the Cost of Power Rate Stabilization Account (CPRSA) would be closed. What B.E.L. did was that after those rates and those regulated values expired, they continued to use them and on that basis, they were saying that they owed consumers for the cost of power. But when we set that rate, the price of oil was at a hundred and forty-seven dollars a barrel. It reduced after that and so that rate would never have been appropriate for periods thereafter but we never had an opportunity to do a rate review and so we could not change it. But as far as we are concerned, that thing expired June 2009. For B.E.L. to continue to use it was inappropriate. And so on that basis, in their books they claimed that they owed consumers fifty million dollars. But the P.U.C. never did say that. In this rate review, we did a reconciliation of the CPRSA and we determined that at the end of June thirtieth, 2009 the balance was twenty-three point million. That is what they owed consumers and now we’ve taken that twenty-three million and we’ve used that reduce the rates going forward.”

Any objections to the six point one four percent decrease must be submitted by January twenty-seventh. According to Avery, if there are no objections, the new rates come into effect on February first.

Channel 5

#428246 - 01/18/12 09:08 AM Re: PM Hints At Lower Electricity Rates [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,799
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

BEL says, “Maybe!”

The Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) today reacted to an initial decision issued on Thursday, January 12, by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), calling for an average 6.1% reduction in tariffs, amounting to savings of roughly $6 for every $100 customers pay on their light bills.

This is nearly double what BEL had applied for when it submitted its rate review application back in December 2011 asking for a 3.4% decrease in rates, and today, the company issued a press release saying that it wants the PUC to revisit its decision.

The BEL position is remarkably contrary to the position of the Government, which has a supermajority stake in the company, and which has signaled its acceptance of the PUC decision and its expectation that light bills will go down as of next month. We note that the review of the PUC decision could drag out the process for months longer.

“On behalf of the Government and people of Belize I welcome that decision and treat it with applause and with jubilation,” Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow at the House of Representatives had said on Friday, when a statutory instrument was tabled enabling the PUC to bring the new rates into effect as soon as February 1.

Normally, the rates would take effect in July/August, and Prime Minister Barrow said the rate reduction is “the greatest New Year’s gift over which [the Barrow] administration is presiding,” giving consumers more money to spend and in some cases “to splurge.”

“For all intents and purposes that [new rate schedule] is now law and has become enforceable,” said PUC chairman John Avery, at a press conference held at the Radisson this afternoon.

However, if BEL and the PUC are unable to resolve their differences and an independent expert has to be engaged to make recommendations, as per law when the parties dispute over the rates, it will mean another three-month delay before implementation, Avery signaled this evening. That would mean a May implementation date for the new rates, well beyond the scheduled date for municipal elections, which some speculate could also be the date of early general elections.

“Consumers deserve their reduction as soon as possible,” said Avery.

He noted this afternoon that although there remain unresolved issues coming out of this initial rate decision, he hopes that BEL and the PUC can address them during the next annual review proceedings—not this one, so that the long-awaited rate reductions can be put into force within the next two weeks.

Specifically, Avery noted that BEL had requested an increase in fees and charges, as well as penalties for those who steal electricity, but he did not give the details.

The PUC chairman called this 2011-2012 rate review period “a bit extraordinary,” in that instead of covering the normal four years, it spans seven years, retroactive to July 2009 and running to June 30, 2016.

That is because since 2009, when a 15% rate reduction was to be effected, the PUC’s hands have been stayed by court order from doing anything to alter rates disputed back in 2008 by Fortis Inc. of Canada, which owned the company until the Barrow administration nationalized it last year.

Due to the protracted dispute between Fortis Inc. and the Public Utilities Commission over rates, nearly three years have passed and the PUC has been unable to set new rates, Avery said.

Barrow said of last Friday, when the electricity order was tabled in the National Assembly that, “Today is, therefore, the sweetest possible consummation and vindication of Belizean courage.”

He commented that “...the former owners of BEL were never going to give us any reduction [in rates]. In fact, they tied us up in court and got injunctions to block any possibility for lower rates. They were determined and demanding to increase our rates—and in a major punitive way.”

Barrow added that Fortis had “actually threatened to cut off power supply if Government did not buckle.”

Today, it was the Government-controlled BEL which expressed its reservations on the PUC’s new rate decision and the company’s ability to meet its financial obligations.

In a press release issued earlier today, the company quoted Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Locke as saying that, “Lower rates to customers are possible and desirable. However, the final rates to customers must also ensure that we can sustain the company’s operations to deliver the quality service and carry out the system improvement initiatives outlined in our Business Plan, as well as meet our obligations to shareholders.”

BEL has signaled that it “will continue to work with the PUC as the Initial Decision is revisited.”

It added that, “It is critical for the Company to gain an understanding of the PUC’s premise for its Initial Decision. All efforts will be made to understand the PUC’s underlying assumptions and provide more information necessary to ensure all assumptions reflect the Company’s operational reality. Accordingly, BEL will be writing to the PUC to request a meeting.”

This evening, PUC chairman John Avery gave an extensive presentation to the media, spanning over an hour, detailing the PUC’s decision.

Avery said that the PUC has approved $119.7 million in investments for BEL.

Then there are all the corrections that have to be applied to effectively give consumers tens of millions back in rebate, $2.6 million for the period February to June 2012, and $6 to $7 million a year after, up until the year 2016. The total corrections listed in the data presented amount to $30.2 million.

The PUC also reported that $7.13 million in net corrections have been applied for June 2008 to June 2011, which is derived from $4.4 mil in favor of BEL and $11.5 million in favor of consumers.

Although the tariff decision spans 2009 to 2016, Avery explained that the corrections are factored into the new rates going forward.

We asked Avery what is the probability of the new rate reduction holding for the 4-year period remaining (2012 to 2016), and he said that would depend largely on what will be the cost of power, which is largely driven by world market prices for fuel.

Avery spoke today of “imprudent expenditures” which he said the former management of BEL made, and we asked him to cite them; he spoke of $7 million the former management spent in legal fees to foreign attorneys to fight the PUC in court.

Avery said that customers will not be asked to bear the penalty for that kind of spending, and so those costs won’t be passed on to customers on their light bills; rather, he suggested, that’s something that the government may want to consider in settling compensation with Fortis, the former owners.

We also asked the PUC chairman why it is that, according to the schedule to the PUC decision, a lower amount of revenues is approved for BEL than the previous year. He said that he expects changes in the company’s tax rate. He told us that prior to April 2010, BEL paid 1.75% business tax. That was increased 6.5%, but Avery said he expects Government will reduce the tax rate in April this year, at the time of the new budget.

Former BEL CEO, Lynn Young, told us today that, “BEL had applied for a reduction of approx 5.8% in 2009 after the PUC ordered 15% reduction, on condition that the PUC rescind the bad decision. The PUC refused and instead, the Government increased BEL’s taxes by roughly the amount of the reduction that BEL had offered. One week after the GOB expropriation of BEL, the PUC rescinded the 2009 decision.”

Avery told us that the 5% savings from the Mexican state-owned company, Comisión Federal de Electridad (CFE) are being passed on to consumers; however, the PUC is encouraging BEL to purchase from the cheapest sources of power to help it to be more cost effective.

CFE, he said, accounts for 40% of the energy Belize uses, and the rest of power comes from local sources, particularly the Fortis-owned hydro facilities run by the Belize Electric Company Limited (BECOL)—Mollejon, Chalillo and Vaca, a three-dam scheme, and Belize Aquaculture Limited, independent power suppliers to BEL. The PUC is encouraging BEL to replace some of CFE’s fossil fuel- based power with local sources, such as renewable hydro, to help save money on payments to power suppliers.

Avery said that now that BEL is majority government-owned, if it cannot raise funds via the markets in debentures or commercial loans, it may be able to benefit from a government guarantee or other government facilitation to obtain concessionary financing from multinational lenders. He also said that when the series 1 debentures end in 2012, he expects that BEL will seek to resell them on the market to raise more funds.

Whereas BEL expressed concerns as to whether it can adequately sustain its operations with the 6% rate reduction, Prime Minister Barrow said Friday that, “This slashing of electricity bills to all consumers is an unprecedented, historical achievement—the jewel in the crown in Government’s sparkling initiatives of pro-people initiatives.”

He said that, “Every sector of the economy will benefit—residential, industrial and commercial...”

He also said “the PUC’s decision adds over 1,000 persons to the list of those that pay only at social rate for their electricity consumption.” The category would be expanded, he said, from 7,000 persons to about 8,000 persons.

Barrow said that the new electricity rates, as contained in the PUC’s initial decision, will result in $12 million dollars in annual savings to the consumer.

“It is one hell of a stimulus package,” he commented.

He added that, “The only bill that does not go down is Government’s bill for street lighting. We, the Government of Belize, will continue to pay at a whopping 55 cents per kilowatt-hour.”

This is well above the average of 44.1 cents per kilowatt hour contained in the PUC decision. Barrow said that Government pays almost $600 a year for one lamp, but that is what is necessary to offset the rock-bottom social rate to poor Belizeans, which is 20-odd cents per kilowatt hour.

Whereas Barrow noted that the statutory instrument tabled Friday brings the new rates into force on February 1, 2012, the PUC has noted that any serious objection to its decision could delay the implementation as many as three months. This notwithstanding, Barrow has signaled his expectation that “ from next month’s light bill, every person in this country will realize savings.”


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