BEL has submitted what is known as a Full Tariff Review Proceeding to the PUC. Basically, it's a forecast of how much the company will be spending to purchase power, and what kind of electricity rate it will need to charge you to sustain operations and get a fair return on investment.
Now, with the cost of power from Mexico, and the cost of fuel both projected to increase, these are both driving up the cost of power. Still, BEL says it hopes to keep your electricity rate constant, at least up until the end of 2020 - while investing in a reliable and resilient power grid:
Dawn Sampson-Nunez - GM, Legal and Corp. Services, BEL
"In reviewing BEL's application, you will basically see that over the next 4 years, we're projecting an average increase of about 3.5 cents over the 4 year period. Now while that is a projection, I do want to emphasize that is a projection, we also want to most importantly communicate that our objective is to ensure that we actually come in below the mean electricity rate that you see in our submission. So you're seeing that increase of approximately 3.5 cents per kilowatt hour, our objective is to come in lower than that. We plan to invest over 280 million dollars in our system over the next 4 years and the investments are designed to improve reliability to customers, reduce cost of power."
Sean Fuller - GM, Comm. and Retail Services, BEL
"Those investments we believe are critical to BEL being able to continue to operate efficiently, provide the level of capacity needed to serve our customers and to build the level of redundancy needed for instance, we are investing in a new submarine cable to Caye Caulker, we are investing in a second submarine cable to the island of Ambergris Caye."
The investments also include interconnection with new local generation sources to the national grid to reduce reliance on power from Mexico.
The full FTRP schedule is available at the PUC's office on Gabourel Lane, in Belize City and BELs headquarters.
B.E.L. to Invest $280M over the Next Five Years
B.E.L. also announced today that it plans on investing almost three hundred million dollars in the national electricity grid over the next five years to connect to new renewable sources of energy in-country, as well as introduce smart grid technologies to improve its services.
Sean Fuller, GM, Commercial & Retail Services, B.E.L.
“Dawn mentioned we are making projections for $282 million in investments over the next five years. Those investments, we believe, are critical to B.E.L. being able to continue to operate efficiently, provide the level of capacity needed to be able to serve our customers and to build the level of redundancy needed. For instance we investing in a new submarine cable to Caye Caulker. We are investing in a second submarine cable to the island of San Pedro Ambergris Caye to facilitate the growth in demand on the islands and also for redundant link for the two most popular destinations for tourists in this country. We are also, in the next five years, going to be installing a second transmission line from La Democracia to Dangriga for redundancy and capacity growth in the south of Belize. We are also very aggressively going to build the necessary infrastructure to connect to the additional in-country solar sourrces of electricity. That is about forty-five megawatts of solar and additional twenty-five megawatts of LPG generation within the country. That gives us a lot of in-country stability as far as reliance on the Mexican supply for electricity, especially when the Mexican prices are high. We will now with these additional generation source be able to better serve our customers as far as the demand needed to serve them during those periods of time. So we are also doing quite a bit of investments in our grid to modernize the grid to prepare for distributed generation solar, also for the eventuality of electric vehicle transportation in the country.”