BELIZE CITY, Mon. Jan. 28, 2019– On Friday, January 25, Belize Water Services (BWS) won its court case against the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), and so, the utility company will not be required to lower its rates.
In January of last year, the PUC announced that after its annual rate review procedure, it had decided that a decrease in water usage rates was in order. Those rates would dip from $17.49 for every 1,000 gallons of water to $16.37 for the same 1,000 gallons.
That price change should have come into effect on April 1, but just before that, BWS attorneys went to the Supreme Court to apply for a judicial review of the PUC’s decision and an interim injunction against the implementation of the new rates.
According to the PUC, their review was conducted under what is referred to as “exceptional circumstances,” but BWS’ argument is that no such circumstances existed.
So, in court Friday, Justice Michelle Arana ruled in favor of BWS, which was represented by Rodwell Williams. Justice Arana found that BWS was not given proper notice of the annual review proceedings from the PUC, which was represented by Naima Barrow, and that the PUC acted outside its jurisdiction.
Hence, water rates for consumers will remain as they currently are.