Over the past few months, people around the island and countrywide have been complaining that for some reason, their water and light bills are higher than normal. Some claim that they are being double- or triple-charged, and suspect their bills are being averaged. Customers also allege that their meters are not being read, and the bills are not reflecting what they consume. Both utility companies refute these allegations, and have indicated that they continue to physically read meters to produce their consumer’s bills. Despite their denial, the situation has led to the creation of an online campaign asking people to sign a petition to ‘Investigate Belize Electricity Limited for Suspicious Billing’. Information on the online petition can be further viewed HERE. At press time, over 4,400 signatures had been garnered.

In a phone interview, Marlon Smith, Superintendent in charge of Metering and Loss Reduction at BEL asks customers to play close attention to how they use energy. Smith said that during these long periods of lockdown, when people stay at home most of the time, they tend to consume a lot more electricity than normal. Some examples he gave are electrical appliances (TV, fans, tablets, computers, radios etc.) being in constant use throughout the day. People will also make more trips to the refrigerator requiring this appliance to use more energy to keep the items inside cool. Overall, the monthly electricity bill is calculated based on the total energy used by all electrical appliances and devices in the household.

Smith, along with Vonetta Burrell, Manager of Corporate Communications urged customers to check the reading date on their bill, which shows the actual period for which they are being billed. The billing period for most customers’ billing period is a combination of days between two months. Customers should note that if the previous month’s bill was not cleared, that amount would be reflected as a balance forward on your current bill, which will be included in the amount due. Therefore, the amount due will be reflective of more than one month’s bill.

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