The Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) has produced an estimate of their Full Tariff Review Proceeding that could possibly result in lower rates for consumers. The company submitted the application to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The Tariff period will commence on July 1 and will end on June 30, 2024. According to a press release from the Belize Electricity Limited the submission represents BEL’s forecasts over the Full Tariff Proceedings. While the current forecasts project increasing costs and a Mean Electricity Rate (MER) of $0.4533 on average. The Company’s intention is to maintain the current rates to customers up to December 31. Dawn Sampson Nunez emphasized that the figures are merely an estimate.
Dawn Nunez Sampson, General Manager Employee & Corporate, BEL:“Every four years at BEL we go through this process where we basically project what our sales will be, we project what the cost of power will be and the cost to deliver power to our customers and of course we also take into consideration any adjustments that we need to take or we need to make to account for what the actual cost of power was for the previous period. In carrying out that exercise we arrive at the mean electricity rate that we project over the next four year period by simply dividing what the projected costs are by the projected sales and then we arrive at the mean electricity rate. In reviewing BEL’s application you will basically see that over the next four years we’re projecting an average increase of about 3.5 cents over four year period. Now while that is a projection and I do want to emphasize that that is a projection we also want to most importantly communicate that our objective is to ensure that we actually come in below the mean electricity rate that you see in our submission. So you’re seeing that increase of approximately 3.5 cents per kilowatt hour, our objective is to come in lower than that. Whatever savings we are able to realize as a result of our efforts our intention is to pass those savings on to customers.”
According to Sean Fuller the General Manager of Commercial and retail services, Over the next five years, BEL plans to invest over $280 million in the national electricity grid to connect to new in-country renewable sources of energy.
Sean Fuller, Commercial & Retail Services GM, BEL: “Those investments we believe are critical to BEL being able to continue to operate efficiently, provide the level of capacity needed to serve our customers and to build the level of redundancy needed. For instance we are investing in a new submarine cable to Caye Caulker, we are investing a second submarine cable to the island of San Pedro or Ambergris Caye to facilitate the growth in demand on the islands and also for a redundant link to the two most popular destinations for tourists in this country. We are also in the next five years going to be installing a second transmission line from La Democracia to Dangriga for redundancy and the capacity growth in the south of Belize. We’re also very aggressively going to build the necessary infrastructure to interconnect to the additional in country sources of electricity that is about 45 megawatts of solar and additional 25 megawatts of LPG generation within the country. That gives us a lot of in country stability as far as reliance on the Mexican supply for electricity especially when the Mexican prices are high we will now with these additional generation sources be able to better serve our customers as far as the demand needed to serve them during those periods of time.”
The investments are critical for stabilizing energy costs and improving grid resiliency, which is key to achieving BEL’s mission.