The New Year came in with a bang as electricity rates increased as of Tuesday, January1, 2013. According to news media the Public Utilities Commission has made the decision based on the Belize Electricity Limited’s budget which skyrocketed way above their budget this past year.
It went so high that the company ended up spending $45Mil, more than it had budgeted to buy power. The company sent its figures to the PUC for the annual review - and when the PUC did the math, the Utility was effectively requesting a rate increase to about 55 cents per kilowatt hour - about one-third more than the 41 cents you are currently paying.
“The new approved electricity rate is now 48.86 cents which is approximate 16.87% above the existing 41.81 mean electricity rate,” commented John Avery, Chairman of the PUC, in a press conference in Belize City. "Because this is a fairly big increase certainly it will put our productive and business sector at a disadvantage comparatively. It's not something we like to do and we try to minimize the impact on consumers while not putting any additional strain on the utility."
BEL declined comment saying it was still reviewing the PUC decision and would comment in the New Year. The main cause of increased costs is power purchased from Mexico. More had to be bought this year because rainfall was low - causing below average hydroelectric production.