Saturday, July 11, 2009

Belize comparative electricity rates for region. Highest of all!

Chalillo hydro dam has backed up a beautiful lake.


A recurring problem in Belize is the high rates for electricity. We have two hydro electrical dams and also a third one soon to come online. Private sector financing will supply all the electricity the country needs in private ventures. Lacking are the legislated incentives in some sort of guaranteed purchasing agreements for private sector electrical power producing investments. The REPORTER NEWSPAPER this week published the comparative costs of electricity around our region.

Mexico .12 cents a kw
Honduras .18 cents a kw
Guatemala .40 cents a kw
Costa Rica .16 cents a kw
Nicaragua .28 cents a kw
Belize .42 cents a kw

As you can see by the table, Belize has the highest electrical rates in our region of Central America and Mexico.
The management company for electricity in Belize and the distribution system is FORTIS a Canadian company and while they do a good job in supplying electrical service, are widely believed by the general public, to be cheating on the way they charge and make their profits. The Public Utilities Commission in this UDP government finally made them cough up for some (hic! ) accounting errors, last year. They squealed like a pig going to slaughter.
What is believed generally, is that the electricity produced from HYDRO power is over priced and that the system of separate entities, allows hydro power to be overcharged from BECOL to BEL the distribution company. Both controlled and run by the Canadian company of FORTIS, of Canada. What we have is a climate of proven mistrust between the public of Belize and the company of FORTIS.
Under the past PUP administration, again it was widely believed that a CABAL of senior political party members in the previous CABINET were on the TAKE from FORTIS in some manner of form. When the current UDP won the election, they promised to rectify the past ROBBER BARON mentality of the corruption under the PUP administration. This they have failed to do across the board. Nobody has gone to jail from the big ROBBER BARONS for smuggling out foreign exchange in the millions from Belize. Nobody from the previous administration has even been prosecuted, other than to do with some banking and GRANT money disbursements from foreign countries in foreign aid. It is all very disappointing and generally speaking the public is sick to death of the sanctimonious utterances of politicians in Belize.
Generally speaking, BECOL the hydro dam electricity produced here, is believed to be valued at .08 cents a kilowatt, to BEL the distribution system for electricity and the FORTIS managers. BEL however, are charging the consumer .42 cents a kilowatt. A differential of .32 cents a kilowatt. The PUC does not seem to have the technical expertise, or accounting skills to decipher the real costs involved with loans for the dams and production and operating costs. Nor for the differences in costs once it reaches the distribution system of BEL, the company next layer up in the system.
BECONGO, a local NGO is protesting and demanding that our UDP government and Public Service Commission present facts on the costs of electricity between BECOL at the hydro dam and BEL and give us the public, the break downs and justifications for such a high cost of electricity in Belize. The PUC are not doing their job.
The closest high price of electricity to us in our region is that of Guatemala, but that nation is a heck of a mountainous region with many mountain ranges, volcanoes, steep valleys and many remote towns and villages with a population of 7 million people. Guatemala could swallow Belize two dozen times over and more, inside their geographic area, yet while Guatemala rates are high, they are lower than ours. While our small country has the highest rates of electricity in the region.
Something smells here BACONGO keep saying, like dead fish in the bilge water under the floor boards of a fishing skiff after being out in the sun for a day or two. Where do we find politicians that would do something about transparency and accountability in Belize?

1 comment:

Michael Nuya said...

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