By Alex Milan, Staff Reporter
The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) announced on Friday that it has approved a two percent increase in water rates after reviewing a request from Belize Water Services (BWS) last November.
According to PUC Chairman, John Avery, the new rates will take effect April 1st, which is the start of what they call the Full Tariff Period. Avery said the PUC made the decision after looking at all of BWS’ requests and reviewing their financial status.
BWS had initially requested that the PUC approve investments of $108.6 million but Avery said the Commission only approved $50 million based on their assessment of the feasibility of the type of projects BWS intends to undertake.
According to Avery, BWS had also requested the Commission to approve $151.3 million in Operational Expenditure (OPEX) but the PUC instead approved $129.8 million.
Avery said that the Commission expects BWS to do a better job at managing their operational expenses and reduce the cost of their OPEX within the next few years. If BWS does not reduce their OPEX the PUC will make adjustments resulting in the lowering of consumer rates, Avery added.
Avery noted that interested parties representing at least 10 percent of BWS’ users may submit written comments or objections on the initial decision by January 23rd.
Those comments or objections can be submitted in writing to the PUC office at 41 Gabourel Lane or by email to [email protected] If the PUC receives any objections an independent expert will be commissioned to review the initial decision.
If the PUC receives no objections to the initial by the January 23rd deadline decision presented on Friday, the initial decision will be adopted as the final decision.