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Electricity Rates Simplified

Electricity Rates Simplified
October 19
06:10 2019

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Back in August, this newspaper published an article explaining how electricity rates are applied and how cooling agents, such as using more fans, and the way how your fridge has to work harder to keep its temperature can mean the difference between a low electricity bill and a significantly higher one. But the complaints from consumers of high electricity bills persisted, so the Reporter will break it down even further to explain the factors that affect the electricity bill that you pay.

There are four main factors that are involved in how much your electricity bill is going to be. Those factors are: how much energy your household or business consumes each month, the tariff structure – which stipulates how much is charged for each bracket of usage, whether there has been a tariff increase recently, and the General Sales Tax (GST) which is a 12.5% tacked on automatically if your bill is $100 or higher.

BEL’s General Manager for Employee and Corporate Services, Dawn Sampson explained that even if throughout this year’s drought you burned exactly the same amount of energy as you did last year from month to month, the rates will be higher this year because of the rate increase that took effect in January.

Sampson also pointed out to us that if your energy consumption went up by five percent, that does not mean that the amount you pay will be the same five percent more; and that is because the tariff structure is such that the more you consume, the more per kilowatt hour you will pay. In fact a five percent increase in consumption could translate to a bill as much as 18 percent higher.

“If you are a residential customer, the power that you consume between 0 and 50 kW hours – you will pay 38 cents per kw hour. And your consumption between 51 and 200 kW hours – you’re going to be paying 40 cents per kilowatt hour. And your consumption over 200 kW hours – you’re going to be paying 45 cents per kW hour. So you’re increasing consumption,” Sampson pointed out.

The rate-setting methodology is set up such that there can be rate adjustments twice each year. The next Tariff Review Proceeding will be in December but there is no determination of there will be an adjustment because even in BEL applies for one, it is the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) that must review the application, and all other relevant information before it decides on an adjustment or by how much.

BEL currently purchases power from Mexico but is trying to bring solar energy on stream very soon, as Prime Minister Dean Barrow alluded to in his Independence Day speech.

Sampson said that BEL will continue its efforts to educate its customer base and inform them of matters affecting their bills on a timely basis.

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