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PUC justifies amended rate given to BEL

Posted: Monday, May 7, 2018. 8: 27 p.m. CST.

By BBN Staff: Today the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) held a press conference at the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina, to discuss the technical details that led to its initial decision to grant Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) a rate increase which the company had requested at the end of March.

PUC Chairman John Avery and Director of Electricity Ambrose Tillett led the meeting, which covered various considerations made when arriving at the decision to grant BEL a 4.4 percent increase, instead of the 7.7 percent the company asked for.

Avery spoke on the commission’s review of BEL’s investments, noting that investments that do not increase the service value do not make a case for a rate increase. Tillett noted that with BEL’s sales, every cent added to the rate represents more than $5 million dollars going to the company.

The PUC conceded that the company does have to grapple with increasing energy costs, for which the PUC saw the need to ensure that the rates do go up to help the company adjust to that cost.

BEL has until May 12 to accept the increase or request the assistance of an independent expert to review its proposal. If members of the public that amount to 10 percent of the total users write the PUC voicing a problem with the rate, the PUC will be legally obliged to enlist the independent expert. The Commission has the final say on what changes will be implemented on July 1, when the new tariff period begins.

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