The Electric Rate Changes - How Does It Affect Your Bill?

Last week, Belize Electricity Ltd. revealed its proposed changes effective February 1st, a $2.6 million dollar per annum drop, according to The People's Pulse.

How does this affect your bill? Yes, it does drop. Here is a comparison for a household that uses 400 kilowatt hours (kwh) a month. (Very easy to do with just an electric refrigerator, small water heater and TV.)

400 kwh at the old rate
1) 70 kwh at .31 = $ 21.70 2) 80 kwh at .35 per kwh = $ 28.00 3) 250 kwh at .41 per kwh= $102.50 TOTAL= $152.20 And 400 kwh at the new rate: (Low Voltage Rate)
1) Basic charge $ 4.00 2) 50 kwh at .20 $ 10.00 3) 150 kwh at .33 $ 46.50 4) 200 kwh at .41 $ 82.00 TOTAL= $138.50

So there is a savings of $13.70 on this bill. In addition, there is a "social rate" for "qualified customers" using 50 kwh per month or less - this is at a basic rate of $3.00 plus .21 per kwh. So, the "social rate" at 50 kwh would be $10.50. A comparison of the cost using the new the "Low Voltage Rate" for 50 kwh results in a bill of $14.00. A "social rate" customer saves 50 per month - as long as their consumption of electricity is extraordinarily low.

What the right hand gives, the left hand sometimes takes away. This is the case with the new rates - there are new charges for moving meters, meter transfers, etc. Here is the new list:

Disconnection fee $15.00 Reconnection fee $18.00 Disconnection/Reconnection $33.00 Meter transfer $33.00 Meter change $18.00 Damaged meter $98.00 New installation up to 2 service pole drop $200.00

Line extensions are at full cost, as it was before. However, there is the possibility a developer might be able to get their money back - the new proposed rates state the following: "Developer or first customer(s) pay for full cost of the extension. Developer receives credit for each customer as follows: each new customer pays him portion of annual cost (10 years). New payments are credited back to developer or first paid customer." How this policy will be applied remains to be seen. Previously, if a developer/first customer paid for a line extension, transformer, etc. new customers would be hooked up by BEL without any credit to the original customer - the first customer was left to his own devices to attempt to be reimbursed by the new customer for part of his original cost. Developers and first customers historically have been unable to strongarm their neighbours into helping them recapture their original expenses - with the notable exception of one land developer south of Victoria House.

There is also a new industrial rate, which benefits customers who use more than 50,000 kwh per month - They pay a basic charge of $75.00, .40 per kwh for the first 50,000 kwh and then the price drops to .33 per kwh. To qualify, you must use 30,000 kwh or more per month. On Ambergris Caye, there are actually a number of customers who qualify for this industrial rate - some are Ramon's Village, Journey's End, Casa Caribe , Water and Sewer Authority and SeaTec.

If you ever wondered how much it costs the government to run the street light outside your window, it is .40 per kwh.

San Pedro Sun

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