By Aaron Humes: The irony is not lost on Chairman of Belize Electricity Limited (BEL), Senior Counsel Andrew Marshalleck.
“That’s a role reversal. Historically, it has always been BEL pushing for a rate increase and the PUC keeping rates artificially low,” he told Channel 7 News in discussing why the power company is now asking, at least for now, for the opposite.
But the regulator has insisted on a cent-and-a-half increase for the first six months of 2022, subject to public objection and BEL’s.
Chairman Marshalleck concedes that because the cost of power will go up about $10 million, there should be a rate increase. But the company, he says, is willing to defer such an increase to 2023 after having a good year financially in 2021 while everyone else has been taking licks.
The last thing BEL needs is more arrears from customers already unable to pay, Marshalleck maintained.
As to the examples cited by the PUC in its decision where BEL could have saved money on the cost of power, Marshalleck said the listed savings was actually far less in their calculations and did not factor in the cost of any spillage. The decision was also taken on the PUC’s part using historic, outdated data and information. BEL, he said, had to act then and there and hope for the best.