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Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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There is some good news for consumers because beginning July first, 2015 to June thirtieth 2016; electricity rates are to go down by thirty-five cents per kilo watt hour to all customers. The Public Utilities Commission announced the reduction in tariffs today after reviewing a request by Belize Electricity Limited. While B.E.L. requested a reduction in the Mean Electricity Rate from forty one point twenty nine percent to thirty seven cents, the P.U.C. went below that and approved the tariff at thirty cents which represents a fifteen percent decrease. The P.U.C. is now inviting comments on the proposed reduction.

Electricity rates to dip to lowest rate in over a decade

The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) yesterday announced its initial decision to reduce electricity rates by 15.24% - a reduction which would see electricity rates fall to 35 cents per kilowatt-hour, the lowest in over a decade.

Back in October 2004, when the Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) was privately owned and operated, the company proposed an increase in tariffs of 3 cents per kilowatt-hour, amounting to about 10%, bringing to an end a long streak of falling electricity rates, which the company said had lasted since 1984.

Since then, electricity rates have been fluctuating, but they have been on a general downward trend since the 16.87% rate hike was imposed in January 2013.

At the time, rates peaked at 48.86 cents per kilowatt-hour. If the new rates take effect, it would result in a total rate reduction of almost 30% for the past two years.

In January, light bills came down by 5% on average. The latest PUC decision, calling for a further 15% decrease, follows the Annual Review Proceedings (ARP) for the Annual Tariff Period (ATP) July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016, which commenced on April 1, 2015. At the time, BEL proposed a 10.4% reduction in rates to yield a mean rate of 37 cents per kilowatt-hour.

BEL had explained that, "The proposed rate reduction is attributed to a significant reduction in the cost of purchasing power from Mexico's Comisi´┐Żn Federal de Electricidad (CFE), following Mexico's move to dispatch energy at a cheaper price, by utilizing hydroelectricity and moving to the use of cheaper, cleaner fuels such as natural gas and other renewable energy sources, compared to heavy fuel oil and diesel."

The PUC, via a public notice, announced this week that after conducting its review, "The Commission approved a Mean Electricity Rate (MER) of $0.3500 per kilowatt-hour, representing a 15.24% reduction in the MER (current MER is $0.4129 per kilowatt-hour)."

It added that the Commission has also approved various adjustments to the cost of power, the regulated asset value (RAV) and other regulated values approved for the Full Tariff Period of July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2016.

BEL had said that it was proposing changes to the tariff basket that would further subsidize social rate customers; pass on most of the cost savings to residential and industrial customers; provide additional cost savings for medium and large manufacturers that are not benefiting from the special industrial rates; and allow for additional streetlights to be installed, mainly in crime hotspots countrywide.

If there are no objections by Friday, May 8, 2015, to the PUC's initial decision, calling for a 15% rate reduction, the rate of 35 cents will be finalized for implementation on Wednesday, July 1.

The PUC says that the primary duty of the PUC is to ensure that the services rendered by public utility providers in all three sectors are satisfactory and that the charges imposed in respect of those services are reasonable.


Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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BEL Says OK To PUC Rate Cut

BEL asked for a 10% rate cut in your light bill - the Public Utilities Commission pushed it higher, to 15%. Tonight the news is that BEL has said, go right ahead. The power company responded to the PUC saying it has no objections to the proposed 15% rate cut.
But, in a press release today, the power company did have a cautionary statement. It says the PUC rate might not be sustainable and the way the PUC worked its calculations, may result in an increase in rates at the next FTRP commencing July 2016.

BEL looks forward to continuing the open dialogue with the PUC as it prepares to make its Final Decision regarding BEL's 2015/16 ARP submission and prepare for the 2016 FTRP.

BEL thanks customers for their support and renewed confidence in the decisions that the Company has made over the past four years to turn around the performance of this essential service. Consistent with our Mission, BEL reassures customers that the Company will continue to work towards improving its efficiency in order to maintain the lowest sustainable rates.

Channel 7

Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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BEL accepts rate cut but 2016 may be a different story

Belize Electricity Limited has accepted a proposal from the Public Utilities Commission to cut electricity rates by 15 percent, but the company says it will seek a rate increase for the next full tariff review period (FTRP).

BEL had originally suggested a 10 percent cut but after review, the PUC saw that the power company could give more. BEL said its calculation is based on ensuring the company's stability, while the PUC's initial decision was in line with its own rate-setting methodology.

BEL said it remains open to dialogue with the PUC as it prepares to make its final decision regarding the latest annual review proceedings. The new rates come into effect on July 1st and remain in effect until June 2016, when BEL says it may request a rate increase.

Last week PUC Chairman John Avery said the 35 cent per kilowatt-hour rate represents a 15.24 percent cut.

"This 35 cents is setting a rate that will cover their cost for next year but also rebate to consumers the excess that BEL has had over the last couple of years," Avery said.

The PUC is mandated to calculate the rates based on particular factors, including Operational Expenditure (OPEX) so its recommendations are based on a very specific formula in the interest of fairness to both the company and the consumer.

Avery explained that when adjustments need to be made the PUC makes them where they are needed, whether in favor of the company or the consumer.

In last year's review, BEL recommended that energy rates be reduced to 43 cents per kilowatt-hour but the PUC, using the same formula, determined that BEL's initial proposal was too low and recommended a rate which was slightly higher at $0.4347 cents a kilowatt hour.

At the time, Avery explained that if the PUC had approved BEL's recommendation, BEL would have needed to make an adjustment later, which basically would have meant higher rates for the consumers. He added that as BEL expands its coverage and its consumer base, future adjustments should be in favor of the consumer.

The Reporter

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