General — 21 November 2014 — by Adele Ramos
BWS wants 12.5% increase in tariffs

BELIZE CITY–The Belize Water Services Limited (BWS) has submitted an application to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), calling for two successive rate increases totaling 12.5%.

BWS says that based on the forecasted growth in the customer base and overall sales volume, it needs an initial average tariff increase of 5% in April 2015 and a subsequent increase of 7.5% in April 2017.

The company said that in an effort to keep the tariffs affordable over the next 5-year business plan period, it is proposing $108 mil worth of investments. Of this, $30 million would be financed from its revenue pool, and the remainder from new loans, grants and developers’ contributions. Total capital expenditure for the next five years is projected at $180.3 million. Meanwhile, projected yearly revenues range from $44 mil to $51.9 million.

The last rate increase was implemented this April, but there have been a series of rate adjustments since 2010. The BWS says, “As a result of the 2010-2015… review, a tariff increase of 12.2% was awarded in 2010. However, this was followed up by a 7.2% reduction in 2012. Most recently, in 2014, the company was awarded a 6.9% increase.”

On Monday, November 17, 2014, BWS, a regulated, government-owned monopoly, submitted its Business Plan Review Report (2015-2020), with detailed financial information for the PUC’s review. The document notes that the period 2015 to 2020 coincides with the second full tariff period, which will run from April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2020.

The PUC says that members of the public may submit written comments on BWSL’s submission to the PUC by January 17, 2015 at [email protected] or at the PUC’s office at 41 Gabourel Lane in Belize City.

A public meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 27, 2014, at the Ramada Princess Hotel on Newtown Barracks in Belize City. At this meeting, to be hosted by the PUC, public comments will be accepted, with some restrictions.

The PUC says that each speaker from the floor will be given 5 minutes to speak, and persons wishing to make comments at the public meeting are advised to contact the PUC by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 26, 2014, to ensure participation. BWS is also expected to participate in the public meeting.

The PUC notes that the submission by BWS is available for viewing at the offices of BWSL and on the company’s website at www.bws.bz as well as at the PUC office and on its website at www.puc.bz.

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