After reviewing the 2018 Annual Review Proceeding for Belize Electricity Limited, the Public Utilities Commission, PUC, agreed to increase the mean electricity rate by four percent; however, customers can breathe a sigh of relief since they will not see an increase in their electricity bill. At a press conference, John Avery, the Chairman of PUC, said that when the four percent is applied to the tariffs the amount is minuscule resulting in no change to the tariffs.
John Averyn – Chairman of PUC: “We did some slight adjustments to the demand forecast and the number of units of electricity expected to be purchased and generated. We felt B.E.L. was a little pessimistic in their estimate compared to their previous years but that difference was very small, less than 1%. Having done the corrections on those few adjustments the PUC had arrived at the main electricity rate of 41.51 cents per kilowatt hour. Now the main electricity rate, we put a lot of significance on that in the public and especially at these press briefings because it is the easiest tool to compare however the main electricity rate does not carry any significance other than the tariffs that are charged on an average should approximate the main electricity rate. It is not binding, it is almost impossible for the tariff’s to come back to that and so the main electricity rate is good for comparative purposes however it is not that significant in the grand scheme of things but when we got that 41.51 cents that represented a mere 0.4% increase.”
Avery noted that BEL can approach them in six months to request an adjustment in the rates if they feel that it is necessary.
John Averyn – Chairman of PUC: “Basically what is happening is that based on BEL’s projections and what was approved we calculated 41.51. If the current rates were say 39 cents then that would have definitely resulted in a change in the tariff. It is just simple arithmetic that 0.4% doesn’t really affect the tariffs. Now you will recall that in its submission B.E.L. asked that the rates remain the same so they already looked at this and they already had their plans as to how they are going to deal with the situation. They have their history and B.E.L. has been fairly good at forecasting the demand for the most part so they can come at a fairly good estimate of the type of funds or revenue they will generate and therefore they will then have to manage their expenses within that amount but really that is what B.E.L. asked. We had discussions with them and they feel confident that they can weather the storm for this period and recover in the future. It has happened before, it would prudent to consider that things may not work out the same but again in six months time B.E.L. will have an opportunity to ask for an adjustment in the rates if it is necessary.”
The four percent increased has already been implemented.