Features — 04 July 2014 — by Adele Ramos
Electricity rates going down this month

The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has announced that new electricity rates are taking effect this week which would reflect an average 2.7% reduction in light bills for consumers, due to a fall in the mean electricity rate from 44.65¢ to 43.47¢ per kilowatt-hour. The new rates are for the period July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2016.

Back in May, the PUC had issued its initial decision, and because no objections were received to that decision, the PUC has now decided to put it into effect.

At the time of the initial decision, BEL had signaled its satisfaction with the decision, although the company’s April 2014 rate submission proposed a further decrease in electricity rates to 43 cents per kilowatt hour – a reduction of about 3.7%.

BEL has said that while the PUC’s decision represents a deviation of a percentage point from its proposal, it would still allow BEL to fulfill its mission, which is to “provide reliable electricity at the lowest sustainable cost…”

John Avery, PUC chairman, had told the media that the PUC’s decision calls for total corrections of $17.7 mil in favor of consumers. The decrease in rates takes into account the fact that BEL collected $1.26 million more in revenues than the PUC had last approved, and the fact that the company paid $16.4 million less for cost of power than had been projected.

The PUC had also structured the tariff basket of rates so that BEL would earn $210.86 million, but BEL earned $212.13 million, so the excess will be rebated to consumers.

The PUC says that the entire final decision may be viewed at its office, located at 41 Gabourel Lane, Belize City, or on the PUC website at www.puc.bz. It added that further details will also be published in the weekend newspapers.

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