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Consumers pay more for electricity

Bermuda’s rate of inflation held steady in March as consumers paid less at the pump for gas but nearly 3 percent more for their electricity compared to the month before.

Between February and March 2013, the average cost of goods and services in the Consumer Price Index rose 0.2 percent. The all-items index increased from 120.6 to 120.9 index points in March. This means that the basket of goods and services that cost $100 in April 2006 now cost $120.90.

But consumers paid 2.1 percent more in March 2013 than they did a year ago for the basket of goods and services included in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the Department of Statistics said. This was unchanged from the level measured in February 2013.

Year to year, the Health & Personal Care sector continued to be the largest contributor to the 12-month increase in the Consumer Price Index. This sector contains items such as the cost of doctor’s visits, health insurance, prescribed and self-prescribed drugs and toiletries. The annual increase for this sector was 7.7 percent.

The Food and Transport & Vehicles sectors also impacted strongly on the annual rate of inflation, advancing by 3.2 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively.

Month to month, the Transport & Vehicles sector increased 1.4 percent in March, following a 1.3 percent rise in February. The average cost of overseas hotel accommodations increased by 9.9 percent. In contrast, premium and mixed gas prices fell 1.9 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively.

But in Fuel & Power consumers paid 2.8 percent more for electricity causing the Fuel & Power sector to increase by 2.8 percent. The fuel adjustment rate increased for a third successive month.

The Food sector climbed 0.4 percent in March following no changes in February. Leading higher prices were reported for: lettuce (+ 4.2 percent), mayonnaise (+4.2 percent) and frozen fish (+ 3.7 percent).

In Health & Personal Care, following two successive months of no change, the Health & Personal Care sector advanced 0.1 percent in March. On average, the cost of prescribed medicine rose by 2.0 percent. However, self-prescribed medicines decreased by 0.4 percent.

The category of Household Goods, Services & Communications remained static in March as it was in February.

The Education, Recreation & Reading sector remained static for the month. Pet upkeep costs increased 0.6 percent while fuel prices fell 1.9 percent.

There was no movement in the Tobacco & Liquor sector. The cost of beer increased by 0.2 percent but was offset by a 0.1 decrease in the cost of wine.

Clothing & Footwear sector was unchanged in March as it was in February.

The Rent sector declined 0.5 percent this month after increasing 0.1 percent in February. The decrease was attributed to the 0.9 percent drop in properties not subject to rent control. In contrast, rental units subject to rent control increased by 0.1 percent.

Bigger bills: Month to month consumers paid 2.8 percent more for electricity and the fuel adjustment rate increased for a third successive month.

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Published May 07, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated May 06, 2013 at 5:05 pm)

Consumers pay more for electricity

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