Lower revenues and a higher cost of power, these are the two main reasons why Belize Electricity Limited asked the Public Utilities Commission to increase electricity rates. As we told you last week, the PUC agreed with BEL but the figures differed. BEL recommended an increase from thirty six point nine-nine cents per kilowatt-hour to thirty nine point five-four cents in the first year and thirty eight point seven-five cents per kilowatt-hour for the second Annual Tariff Periods. However, PUC agreed to thirty eight point six-two cents per kilowatt-hour for the remainder of the full Tariff Period from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2020. PUC Chairman, John Avery, explains why the rate needed to be adjusted.
John Avery, PUC Chairman: “Their submission basically was to increase the rate to 39.54 cents for the upcoming period which would be July 1st 2018 to June 30 2019 and then to 38.75 cents for July 1st 2019 to June 30 2020. Now traditionally what the PUC does when it determines the tariff whatever periods are left we normally just deal with the average rather than have different rates approved for different years. If the forecast holds out then there is no need to adjust the rates in the following year. So basically their average would have been- because in their submission and the release they put out to the press they only mentioned the 39.54 cents but over the two year period their average would have been 39.14 cents. So in effect what was approved by PUC was .52 cents lower than what was proposed by BEL. Now like I said the biggest portion of that had to do with the cost of power, the expected increase in cost of power for this year and the next two years and then in the FTRP, in the FTRP BEL had made projections for investments going forward capital investments I think the total investments they had was $172 million and so in the second paragraph you will notice that we said they apparently arrived at that taking into account the cost of power and increased assets addition to the regulated assets value- this is talking over the entire four year period. Later in this document you will see that we mentioned that for the remaining periods the amount is lower so that might appear to conflict with the statement but here we were referring to the entire four year period not necessarily the remaining period. And os basically when we reviewed this thing we in effect accepted most of what was proposed by BEL.”
According to Avery the increase represents a five percent increase.