PUC says “no go” on light bill increase

By Benjamin Flowers
Staff Reporter

The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has rejected Belize Electricity Limited’s (BEL) request to increase the the price of electricity for the new year.

The PUC, having reviewed BEL’s request for an 11 percent adjustment to the Mean Electricity Rate (MER) and Tariffs previously approved for the first half of 2016, decided that the increase was unnecessary.
The PUC justified its position saying it is possible for BEL to meet the targets set out in its investment plan under the current rates.
The PUC also rejected any increase in the previously approved Tariffs, Charges and Fees.

On December 10th, BEL made its proposal for the rate increase, to take effect from January 1st – June 31st, 2016. The company said that the increase was necessary to reflect the actual cost of power for the 2012-2016 period.

BEL added that the current rate represents an underestimation of the cost of power impact on BEL’s gas turbine, and an overestimation of the cost of power impact, primarily due to lower rates from the Comision Federal de Electricidad in Mexico.

According to the procedures, BEL has the right to appeal the decision of the PUC within 15 days of the decision, which was taken on December 24th. BEL to date has not filed such request.
The PUC issued a public notice, calling on interested citizens, or BEL itself, to review the final draft of the BEL 2015 Annual Review Proceeding Final Decision Amendment at their website, and make comments and recommendations by January 3rd.

Last year, when considering BEL’s adjustment proposal, the PUC approved a decrease in the MER of five percent. The decrease was a scale up from the initial 3.5 percent BEL had initially proposed.

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