By Aaron Humes: State-run electricity provider Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) is in a back-and-forth with the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), who presented its Draft Annual Review Procedure (ARP) 2021 Amendment Decision of January 5, 2022, over how it stabilizes the cost of power and submits information for the regulator’s review.
While the PUC approved a near one-and-a-half-cent rate increase for consumers, it claims that on occasion BEL has chosen to pay more for power from one source when there are cheaper sources available.
In its statement, BEL says it intends “intend to officially raise our strongest objections to the unsubstantiated allegations against BEL repeated therein by the PUC” and particularly the claim of mismanagement of dispatch of power in September 2021.
The company says it wrote the regulator with its side of the story in December which the PUC has not openly acknowledged.
Notably, BEL representatives told Channel 7 News that the company would have incurred charges greater than the sum of potential savings to consumers last September.
BEL says it remains committed to building up national generation in-country and leveraging relationships with transnational suppliers like CFE in Mexico. It points to its record of competitive electricity rates and consistently good system reliability performance compared to elsewhere in our region.
As for the reason for the rate increase, PUC Director of Tariff Compliance and Standards Ernesto Gomez told Channel 7 that in effect customers are projected to owe BEL more than it is paying for power costs and to balance against any future increases the PUC sees fit to pass on the difference to consumers now. BEL for its part said it did not specifically ask for a rate increase.