BELIZE CITY, Fri. Dec. 11, 2015–The Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) announced today that it has filed a request with the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for an 11% increase in electricity rates, which the company said would reflect the actual cost of power from 2012-2016, the full tariff review period.
Under the existing regime, the company can request rate adjustments during the course of the year as a part of regular tariff review proceedings, or at the end of the longer tariff period, based on the actual price paid for power.
BEL contends that its submission is based on an underestimation of the cost of power (COP) impact of its gas turbine and an overestimation of the cost of power impact for the company’s purchase of power, primarily due to lower rates from Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) in Mexico.
BEL said that in order to recover those costs, it needs a rate increase of 11%, from 35 cents per kilowatt-hour to 38.85 cents per kilowatt-hour.
This July, rates dipped to their lowest in a decade, with a reduction by 15.24%, as rates fell from 41.29 cents per kilowatt-hour to 35 cents per kilowatt-hour.
The company’s request, which was submitted on Thursday, December 10, is subject to approval by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), which will look at BEL’s submission to determine whether the rate increase should indeed be granted.
If the PUC were to grant BEL’s request, it would reverse the downward trend of rates which have been consistently offered to consumers for the past two years.
The last major increase in electricity rates was implemented in January 2013, when tariffs were increased by nearly 17%. Since then it has dropped to its lowest in a decade at 35 cents per kWh, the rate which the PUC has fixed for the period July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016.