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Businesses wait and see over Belco price rise

The Chamber of Commerce said businesses are in wait and see pattern on Belco price rises. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Business on the island have been left in a “position of wait and see” as talks continue over the rate of an electricity price rise, according to the Chamber of Commerce.

Initially, the Regulatory Authority gave Belco the go-ahead to increase the Fuel Adjustment Rate by almost 50 per cent, meaning bills would increase by 20 per cent.

The Government threatened the RA with legal action over the increase and last week announced that it would be scaled back and the method used to calculate the FAR amended.

Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs, said Belco customers “will soon be advised of the changes to the FAR, which will reduce the recent increase in consumers' energy bills”.

Danielle Riviere, the chief executive of the Chamber of Commerce said: “We are all in a position of wait and see. We have to wait to see what those numbers are and what they are saying.

“What we know is there is a cost, so we just have to see how they are planning to manage that cost.”

She added: “I think the initial bump of that increase was a shock to everyone and I think that from a business perspective it meant that there had to be immediate action.

“We are hoping that with this conversation and with the outcomes of what government and Belco and other parties are looking at, it will help people to better manage those impacts, not that they won’t happen but it is a matter of being able to create a sustainable business plan.

“I think that the uproar that happened from a public perspective was enough to say to them that they needed to rethink and they have. They have stepped back and they are looking at how they can approach this in a manner that allows both consumers and businesses, everyone, to be able to better manage it.”

Asked what the impact would have been if the rise had stayed at 20 per cent, the chamber’s president, Marico Thomas, said everyone would have had to “rethink how they go about doing business” and look for efficiencies.

He said the cost of doing business was going up.

“Every industry is going to have to face the exact same thing and some are going to have the ability to reduce their profit margins, some may have to go out of business,” he added.

“If worldwide costs are going up and we are buying out of the world we have to change, if you stay the same, you probably will perish.”

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Published October 30, 2023 at 7:58 am (Updated October 30, 2023 at 8:32 am)

Businesses wait and see over Belco price rise

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