By Alexis R. Milan Staff Reporter
The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has approved a nominal drop in electricity rates and Belizean consumers may very well see electricity rates trending downward explained PUC Chairman, John Avery.
Avery explained that even though Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) recommended a mean electricity rate of $0.43 cents per kilowatt-hour, the Commission uses a specific method to arrive at the rate, which they determined to be $0.4347.
Avery explained that while the government may have wanted to further lower the rates, the Commission is mandated to calculate the rates based on particular factors including Operational Expenditure (OPEX). According to Avery, BEL’s OPEX was higher than the target set by the PUC.
According to Avery, if the PUC had approved BEL’s recommendation, it would have needed to make an adjustment later, which basically would equate to higher rates for the consumers.
As BEL expands its coverage and its consumer base, Avery explained, the future adjustments should be in favor of the consumer, meaning lower rates as BEL gains more customers.
Concerned consumers have until May 12 to submit comments for the PUC to consider. If the PUC receives no objections the new rates take effect on July 1st.