General — 31 December 2015 — by Adele Ramos
PUC turns down BEL’s request for 11% hike  in rates

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Dec. 28, 2015–Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission John Avery issued a decision last Thursday, December 24, disapproving a recent request filed by the Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) 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.

Avery said that the PUC “approves no adjustments to the Mean Electricity Rate and Tariffs previously approved for the period January 1, 2016, to June 30, 2016, and hereby orders the Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) to levy the currently approved Tariffs in respect of the relevant services it is licensed to provide…”

He also said that the PUC had approved no adjustments to any other previously approved Regulated Values, Mean Electricity Rates and Tariffs, Charges and Fees.

BEL had contended that its submission, made on Thursday, December 10, was based on an underestimation of the cost of power (COP) impact of its gas turbine and an overestimation of the cost of power impact, primarily due to lower rates from Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) in Mexico. The company, therefore, asked the PUC to increase the average electricity rate 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 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.

There is still the possibility that BEL may object to the PUC’s decision. The PUC invites all interested persons to submit written comments on the Final Draft, if they have any, to the PUC at its offices at 41 Gabourel Lane, Belize City, or by email at [email protected] by the deadline of Sunday, January 3, 2015.

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