May 17, 2010
Belize’s sole electricity provider, Belize Electricity Limited (majority-owned by Newfoundland-based Fortis), continues to be one of the country’s highest-earning companies, bringing in more than $186-million revenue last year. Yet its net profit is far smaller—just $8.9-million.
Now the company is saying that’s not enough. Even though Belizeans pay US$0.19 per kilowatt-hour—more than twice the average price in other Central American countries—BEL is complaining that its low rate of return on its assets (4.9%) will put it in breach of its loan covenants. Meanwhile, the Public Utilities Commission (Belize’s regulate public utilities regulator) has reminded BEL that it still owes the country’s power consumers over $40 million in excess earnings realized from unadjusted fuel costs.
It isn’t easy being a monopoly…