Water rates to go down
It’s official; water rates are going down. That’s the final decision that was announced today by the Public Utilities Commission, which recently concluded the annual review proceedings for the Belize Water Services Limited. BWS submitted its application on December twenty-third, 2011 and wanted its rates and tariffs to remain the same. The P.U.C., however, believes that the utility company is doing well enough to give consumers an ease. Director of Water and Waste Water, Rudolph Williams as well as the Director of Tariffs and Administration, Leroy Almendarez both sat down with News Five today to explain the P.U.C.’s decision and why the rate reduction doesn’t apply to Caye Caulker.
Rudolph Williams, Director, Water & Waste Water Sector, P.U.C.
“BWS applied for no change in the rates and tariffs and charges as was approved by the Public Utilities Commission. During the review proceedings for the annual period 2011-2012, the commission looked at the operations and the financials of Belize Water Services Limited and made an initial decision to reduce the rates by seven point two percent.”
“And there were no objections?”
Leroy Almendarez, Director, Tariffs & Administration, P.U.C.
“Right, that is important because unless there was an objection, the process would have continued, which would have meant bringing in an independent expert, for example. But because there was no objection, the commission then adapted its initial decision as is final decision.”
“What factors led to this seven point two percent reduction, considering that BWS had asked for no changes?”
“Well, the commission—and it has to be emphasized that the commission makes the decision; the commission is the rate setter. What the provider does is to make an application as an annual review proceeding as was required and they made this application or this submission and said we don’t need any change or we request no change. After the commission did its analysis on the performance of the company, the commission saw where there was a need, based on performance etcetera to reduce the rates.”
“Now, according to the release the reduction is across the board except for Caye Caulker. Any reason why?”
“The Caye Caulker system is a new system and the amount of hook-ups that the Caye caulker system is getting right now is not the amount that was projected. And so the amount of information we also have to do a proper analysis of the system is not available for us to do a fair assessment of that system so we decided to not interfere with that rate right now and leave it as it is then as more information comes about, then we can do a better review of the operations in Caye Caulker.”