General Highlights — 03 May 2013 — by Adele Ramos

The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) today issued its initial decision in response to the rate application submitted by the Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) last month as a part of the 2013 Annual Review Proceeding (ARP).

The PUC said that whereas BEL had recommended a Mean Electricity Rate (MER) of $0.4793 per kilowatt-hour, along with specific adjustments to specific regulated values, and specific tariffs for various consumption bands for various customer classes, the PUC, after its review, has approved a rate of $0.4865 per kilowatt-hour.

The current MER was fixed at $0.4886 per kilowatt-hour in January, when electricity rates went up by 17%.

Today’s PUC decision would mean a negligible 0.4% rate reduction, but for one category of consumers.

“Due to the small reduction in the MER, the only current tariffs adjusted were those for the Social customer class. The minimum charge was reduced from $5.00 to $4.00 per month and the electricity rate/tariff was reduced from $0.29 per kilowatt-hour to $0.26 per kilowatt-hour,” said the PUC.

BEL had indicated at the time of its rate application that it is proposing to reduce its targeted rate of return from 10% to 9%, because its financing costs have declined. BEL had issued a new debenture series, which saw a very good response from investors, and it also obtained a loan from the Belize Social Security Board, through an arrangement to issue preferential shares to the Social Security Board.

The PUC now awaits comments from the licensee – BEL, and interested parties, on today’s decision. Those comments are due by Monday, May 13.

The initial decision is available at the PUC’s office at 41 Gabourel Lane, Belize City, or from its website: www.puc.bz.

Further details will also be published in the major newspapers.

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