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Water rates stable – for now, but increase inevitable; Minister urges conserve as much as possible

Like the Belize Electricity Limited, BWS’s request for a rate increase was also denied by the Public Utilities Commission. The company made the request citing what it called “exceptional circumstance” due to the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic on its coffers. However, the PUC in an initial decision accepted those difficult circumstances and told the company that in place of a fixed charge, they should grow the business and lower its cost structure. We asked Public Utilities Minister Michel Chebat for his views on the almost inevitable increase in both power and water. He urged consumers to conserve as much as possible. 

Michel Chebat, Minister of Public Utilities: “I know under the previous commission they had approved a 2.5 increase water rate that should have come into effect if I’m not mistaken the first of April 2022 BWS made a further submission for that to be reviewed and they asked for a 5% increase which after consideration the PUC and going through the PUC’s process the PUC determined that that was not necessary and so that was denied.”

Reporter: But eventually you would imagine because everything else is raising you’d have to imagine that at some point there will be some increase in electricity rates and water rates. In your perspective what should consumers be concerned about at this time because it most likely is going to happen. 

Michel Chebat, Minister of Public Utilities: “I don’t think that what you’re saying is unreasonable and I think as consumers we have a responsibility to make sure that we’re efficient both the use of water and the use of electricity. Sometimes you know we leave our television running and things like that and so I think we need to become a little bit more conscious. There are certain costs that we as a government can’t control the cost of fuel being one of them and I think as consumers we have a bit of a responsibility to make sure we’re doing what we can to save ourselves some money.”

For now, the current water rates will not change through to the end of March 2025.