Electricity Consumers should remember Nationalization Print E-mail
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Thursday, 08 May 2014 00:00

puc representatives.jpg - 53.20 KbMonday, June 20, 2011- Prime Minister, Hon.  Dean Barrow announced at a Special Sitting of the National Assembly that  “we would never have wanted to take over a BEL that is debt-overburdened and on the brink of operational collapse. But in one of those perfect ironies of life and politics, it is this very state of affairs that obliges us to take it over. And so we will.” A bill was then introduced for the “assumption of control over electricity supply by the Government in the public interest”.

At the time BEL owed approximately $27 million- $5.1 million to BELCOGEN, $10 million to Mexico’s Comision Federal de Electricidad(CFE) and $12 million to Fortis’s BECOL. Those were in addition to debts owed to other financial institutions. The company, for all intents and purposes was on the verge of collapse. But more than being on the verge of collapse, it was a company, which under Fortis' management was threatening "rolling blackouts" if it did not get rate increases as stated by Fortis' principal at the time, Stan Marshal.

When the Prime Minister decided to nationalize BEL, the bill was passed at 12:20p.m. and low and behold her Majesty’s opposition, the PUP, was absent. They chose to abstain themselves from a singular act that is now proving to be a God-send. It is likely that they opted to not even have an opinion on the matter because they were the ones who sold BEL to Fortis, and they were the ones who would have forced the country into "rolling blackouts" and more than that, into BEL rate increases.

Enter the Post-Nationalization Era... to the surprise of everyone, the company is back on its feet; It has gone from the threat of plunging the Belizean populace into blackouts if rates were not increased to now having three consecutive years of rate reductions.

Yes, it is no surprise that every single time that BEL has gone to the Public Utilities Commission since Nationalization that the company has gone to reduce rates. The most recent one came a couple of weeks ago where surprisingly BEL asked for a rate reduction less than what the PUC approved. We mean that the BEL asked for the Mean Electricity Rate  to be reduced from 44.65 cents to 43 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh). PUC however approved that the MER be 43.47 cents per kilowatt hour.

If you think Nationalization is not good... check this one out; and it only happens under a UDP government. The PUP gives us Rolling Blackouts and higher electricity rates.

Last Updated on Thursday, 08 May 2014 16:23