BEL promises lower rates by 2020
BELIZE CITY, Mon. Jan. 14, 2019– Amidst the objections to an increase in electricity rates from 38.62 cents per kilowatt hour to 42 cents that was declared by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the PUC has gone ahead with the increase, but slightly softened that increase, so that the new rate is not 42 cents, but 41.38 cents. This increase will come into effect at the end of the month.
As we had reported in the December 31 edition of the Amandala, BEL had initially requested from the PUC an increase to 41.5 cents per kilowatt hours to recover the $18.9 million they spent to absorb a hike in the cost of power. As per the law, BEL is required to recover these funds through the consumers. The PUC, however, had initially granted an even larger increase.
In that December article, we reported that GoB and UDP’s chairman, Alberto August, voiced their complaints regarding the increase to the PUC during the objection period which is allowed to all members of the general public. August went so far as to request that the PUC not implement any increase for the next 6 months.
Despite that request, the PUC went ahead with the increase, but BEL promises to lower rates by 2020. A press release from them said that they met with the PUC last Monday about the rate increase, which would be in effect for the remainder of the Annual Tariff Period, which ends on June 30.
The release also said that the PUC will be closely monitoring BEL to make sure they are doing what they can to produce cost-efficient power.
The release also referred to “new negotiations that are underway between BEL and its suppliers to secure less volatile prices from Mexico’s CFE, secure fuel for local production at lower prices and resist recent attempts by local Independent Power Producers (IPP) to increase cost.”
It also included plans for the implementation of renewable energy plants such as solar and wind by 2022 and to add an additional hydro plant by 2023.
The release ended by saying that “these initiatives will enable the Company to lower electricity rates to below $0.37 per kWh once again by 2020. This is consistent with the Company’s mission to provide safe, reliable and affordable electricity to customers.”