7 News Belize

Consumers Complain About Higher Light Bills
posted (October 9, 2019)
At the beginning of the year we told you that your light bill would be going up. The increase was to recover 18.9 million dollars BEL has already spent absorbing a steep hike in the cost of power. The law says that cost had to be passed through to consumers.

And indeed throughout this year electricity bills have been on a steady uptick. And consumers have taken notice; some have even taken to Facebook to voice lengthy, angry, and humourous twists on the cost of electricity.

We spoke to Dawn Sampson, BEL's general manager of employee and corporate services, today to try and get to the bottom of the price hikes. She says that in addition to an increase in electricity consumption there are several other factors at play in the price increase.

Dawn Sampson Nunez, General Manager, employee and corporate services
"The temperatures have increased the weather is much warmer historically and typically what you find is that customers tend to use more electricity for cooling purposes during these hot months so that's driving consumption. In addition to the consumption issue as we had reported earlier this year there was a tariff increase an electricity rate increase that took effect on the 1st of January 2019."

"So If you're consuming more electricity the rates have increased effective January 2019 and then in addition to it the more power you're consuming the more your paying. Your starting to understand why is it that when you compare your electricity bill in let's say September 2019 compared to September 2018 there will be an increase. There's another factor and this is one outside the control of the customer there's the impact of General Sales Tax so if previously your bill average below $100.00 you don't see the effect of G.S.T. but as soon as your bill hits $100.00 then general sales tax applies and that's 12.5%. So considering all of those factors that explains the increase that customers are experiencing."

When it comes to your electricity bill the more you consume the more you pay. BEL says that the thinking behind that rate structure is to quote "simply…encourage energy conservation and efficiency."

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