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More misery as Belco bills scheduled to go up from Friday

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Electricity bills will go up on Friday after a rate increase for the island’s power provider was approved.

The Regulatory Authority, which oversees energy and telecommunications in Bermuda, has given Belco the green light for a hike of about 11.4 per cent on elements of electricity bills.

The present rate of 44 cents a kilowatt hour will increase by five cents to 49 cents a kilowatt hour for the three months from April 1.

Residential bills also include a facilities charge, a fixed fee covering maintenance, equipment and infrastructure.

A fuel adjustment charge is also added to the bill, which factors in the Government’s fuel tax, which will remain at 5 cents per kWh.

The total Fuel Adjustment Rate is an increase on the existing rate from $0.1557 to $0.1890.

The FAR reflects the total cost to deliver fuel to Belco’s central plant and is comprised of two parts – the fuel adjustment, and Government taxes.

Belco provided a breakdown of the electricity rate, rounded up to the nearest cent.

The biggest part of the 49 cents a kWh at 14 cents was Belco’s costs of buying and transporting fuel for its oil-fired generators, which went up from 11 cents.

Labour costs at Belco, which has more than 230 employees, accounted for 10 cents of the charge, an increase of one cent.

Plant and equipment costs totalled nine cents of the new charge, a rise of approximately one cent.

Belco’s income, which is set each year by the RA, was six cents of the charge, down from seven cents a kWh.

Operating costs, which have not changed, represented three cents.

Another one cent came from paying off Belco’s revenue deferral, imposed last year to cut bills for customers under financial pressure sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The revenue deferral, however, will now be added to bills from April 1.

The RA’s fee imposed on Belco accounted for one cent of the new kWh charge.

Belco’s breakdown of its electricity rates (Image supplied)

A statement from Wayne Caines, the Belco president, did not highlight the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, now in its second month, even though the conflict has forced up the price of oil.

Mr Caines said: “Belco has worked hard during the last few years to increase efficiencies in running the plant and operations to reduce the impact on customers and continues to do so.

“Belco is acutely aware that high energy costs are a burdensome expense for many families in Bermuda who are struggling, but Belco remains committed to ensuring that we can reliably meet the energy demands of Bermuda while laying the foundation for moving Bermuda to a sustainable energy future with a goal to achieve carbon net zero by 2050.”

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Published March 31, 2022 at 7:51 am (Updated March 31, 2022 at 7:51 am)

More misery as Belco bills scheduled to go up from Friday

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