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PUC proposes lower water bills

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Belizeans may soon be paying less to Belize Water Services, BWS, for their usage of water. In its annual Review Proceeding for the BWS, the Public Utilities Commission, PUC, is proposing to approve adjustments to certain Regulated Values that result in an average 6.39 % decrease in Tariffs. Chairman of the PUC, John Avery explained how they arrived at the rates.

JOHN AVERY, CHAIRMAN, PUC

“On the investment that the company_ the book value of the assets the company uses to provide service_ we calculated a return basically we take that value if it’s a $100 million, lets say the rate of return is 10% then we put $10 million dollars in the revenues for BWS. We have the depreciation, the assets are depreciated over time. Again that is a cost to BWS we put that depreciation into the revenues of BWS. Then you have the operational expenditure that is the salaries, electricity all of those things, again we put a provision in the rates for that so we add up those three, those are the three main components and we get what we call the Gross TBR, the Gross revenue that is to be paid through rates. We then calculate the license fees on that and then we add that too because BWS pays us but that is a cost to BWS they have to recover it from customers. So after that we have the Gross TBR then we have that, then what we have also do now is to take the other income; because there are certain costs that are covered by the other income. The other income is for water connection, sewer connection fees, reconnection fees, like if you want to transfer or upgrade BWS charges a fee for those. So that goes towards covering some of the cost. So we take that out of the revenues because you are already collecting that you don’t need to collect that again through the rates and so we end up with what we call the net TBR, that is the Tariff Basket Revenue and that is the total revenue that is to be gathered from charging the tariffs and based on the consumption we expect from customers we then divide that by the consumption to get an average tariff per thousand gallons and based on the previous average whether that goes up or down then we make an adjustment to the rate.”

BWS or any qualified interested parties representing users of at least 10% of the annual amount of water supplied by BWS in the preceding year have until February 14, to object. If that does happen, the PUC will be obligated to appoint an Independent Expert to review the regulated values, tariffs, fees and charges and to make recommendations to the PUC on such.

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