Headline — 03 February 2018 — by Micah Goodin
6.39% reduction in water bill – effective April 1

The rates will remain in effect until March 31, 2020

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Feb. 1, 2018– On Wednesday, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) held a press conference in which it was announced that consumers will see a reduction in the rates of the Belize Water Services (BWS).

Effective April 1, there will be a 6.39% reduction reflected in your water bill. So instead of paying $17.49 for every 1,000 gallons of water used, consumers will only pay $16.37.

This rate will remain in effect until March 31, 2020.

According to Chairman of the PUC, John Avery, the new rates have been proposed as a result of the 2018 annual review proceedings (ARP) for BWS. He explained that the last rate review was done in the period 2014/15.

The annual rate review is not mandated by law, but instead, it is based on submissions by BWS, or the PUC in light of certain circumstances.

“We believe that there were enough issues unresolved that required that we conduct an ARP to resolve such issues and remove any uncertainties going forward,” said Avery.

According to him, when the PUC initiated this review, it had initially written BWS informing them of the ARP and required that they submit proposals for the rest of the Full Tariff Period (FTP).

Avery explained that a major impact on rates has resulted from investments that the licensee, in this case BWS, is planning to make over the period for which rates are being adjusted.

A part of the methodology for assessing these rates involves going back after each annual period to reconcile figures so as to ensure that rates are fair to both the licensee and customers.

“The licensee should recover its cost and customers shouldn’t pay for costs not properly incurred,” Avery said.

He said that after reconciliation for the 2013/14 period, it was revealed that BWS under-collected $666,843, while for the period 2014/15, it under-collected $2.99 million.

In 2015, when there was a 5% increase or $17.49 charged per 1,000 gallons of water used, BWS saw a surplus in collection.

For example, for the year 2015/16, BWS collected $3.74 million in revenues, while for the period 2016/17, it collected $4.85 million in revenues.

Avery explained that it was as a result of this surplus that there is a proposal to lower the rates for consumers.

So for the next two years, consumers will see a reduction in the cost of water if there are no objections leading up to February 14.

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