Electricity company in Belize against waiver to consumers amid COVID
BELMOPAN, Belize, CMC –The Belize Electricity Limited says while it understands the likely economic impact the coronavirus will have on the country, it is not yet prepared to waive the monthly payments owed by customers.
But the company, whose majority shareholder is the government, says it is prepared to deal with the situation on a case by case basis.
General Manager, Commercial and Retail Services, Sean Fuller, said that while the utility company receives an estimated BDZ$21.5 million in revenue monthly from its 98,000 customers, much of the funds are used to pay suppliers who provide products to the company.
“So every month, we bill customers in Belize, all 98,000, approximately $21.5 million per month and based on that expected collection of that revenue for electricity consumed is used to pay our independent power producers.”
Fuller said that outstanding payables to these same independent power producers is about BDZ$60 million.
“So we typically get energy from them, they send us a bill and in the situation we are in today we are about two or three months behind, so we are about BDZ$60 million owing to them as it is today. So that really leaves us with about BDZ$0.8 million of available money if BEL collects the full $21.5 million from customers.’
Fuller said that the company is aware that “we have customers who have been laid off, we have some customers that are really in a situation that they really cannot pay their bill currently because they don’t have a job” and the company is prepared to work with these customers.
“If they contact us, we will look at each case and determine whether or not it is in fact a legitimate case because we’ve had cases where customers who we know can pay their bills have been advocating for not paying their bills because of this issue,” Fuller said.
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