BEL registers $15 million in profit
On the financial side of things, the Belize Electricity Limited has recorded fifteen-million-dollars in profit in its last financial year, 2022. The company says the figure is a decline from the two previous years when it saw profits of over thirty million dollars. However, the massive increase in those years has been attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a decrease in the cost of energy. The company’s Chairman, Andrew Marshalleck, says that utility company is financially sound but concerned over the growing need to procure additional power.
Andrew Marshalleck, Chairman, BEL: “The company did just fine. Profits are not the issue. In the COVID year profits were more than double that $40 million in the year before came down to 35. This year it came to 15. What accounts for those variations are really differences in the cost of power that we were able to secure through lower prices for Mexico. That situation, as I’ve just pointed out, is now changing. Mexico is facing their own supply constraints which has resulted in correspondingly high prices. But separate and apart from the price issue and the profit issue is the issue of the availability of energy altogether for us to use. The simple fact of the matter is that we’ve been placed on notice by CFE that owing to increased demands in southern Mexico they will have difficulty continuing to supply us at certain times. Now the relationship with Mexico is a very good one and must be preserved and protected because we rely on that source of energy to supply your demand, consumers demand. So this is not in any way a reflection, what I say is not a reflection on them. What it is, is that we must plan for those eventualities if and when they take place. And there were three occasions in this week alone where we could get no power from CFE. So it highlights for us the need to start securing in country generating capacity to meet our needs on those occasions when Mexico, with all their goodwill, isn’t able to help us with power. So I say this again to direct you to the issue at hand that it’s not available cash resources the issue is available power. Even with all the money in the world right now, and BEL is not short of money, we can’t buy the power because the power is not there to be sold to us.”
Given the increase in demand for power in Mexico, Marshalleck was asked if CFE will be seeking to increase electricity rates, and if that would in turn lead to the request for a rate increase for Belizean consumers. Here’s his response.
Andrew Marshalleck, Chairman, BEL: “We haven’t even gotten there but our policy has been to seek to maintain rates right where they are and it’s been a challenge to do so given all these constraints within which we must work. And we’re sounding an alarm. We’re giving notice that if that isn’t set right within the next 12 to 15 months, I think you can expect more than just higher prices. They will have certain instances, certain times when we struggle to meet demand.”