Mixed reaction to prospect of costlier Belco bills
A proposed increase to the cost of electricity, intended to finance improvements in the Belco system, has drawn mixed reviews from the public.
On Monday, it was announced that Belco has applied to increase the base tariff rates across the board in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
The company explained that the increase in rates was required to replace ageing generators and make improvements to the existing infrastructure.
While some said yesterday they understood the proposed cost increase, others told
The Royal Gazette that costs shouldn’t be going up while the public are facing financial challenges.
Samantha Smith said that the current cost of electricity is putting pressure on Bermudian households.
“I think the rates are already too high,” she said. “It’s kind of hard to survive right now for average people. Aside from rent, it’s the main bill for people.
“Having that bill go up makes it harder to survive.”
Taxi driver Sean Simons also stressed the challenges for households in the current economy, saying: “Nobody has any money now. If they increase the price, it’s just going to take more money that people don’t have.”
Joseph Fray added: “It’s going to be a problem for the people who are already working two jobs to pay their bills.
“It’s not right to put the prices up, and they should not be doing it.”
Randy Lambert, CEO of Tampa Entertainment Ltd, said that the cost increases are just another sign that Bermuda needs to turn more attention to alternative energy.
He argued that Belco should reduce costs, saying that increasing the cost of electricity will cause the costs of other goods and services to rise, further harming the economy.
“I know I have to keep my prices down to keep my customers interested,” he said. “The way the economy is right now, the community is feeling the pinch.
“I may have to go to go to my customers and try to tell them that my prices have to go up.”
However Alan Waring said that the cost increase in understandable, given the need for major work at Belco.
“I guess they have no choice,” he said “They have capital costs that need to be incurred, and they are the only supplier.”
Bobby Rego agreed, saying: “They have got to upgrade. Everything up there is pretty much being worn out. An increase of 3.5 percent doesn’t seem too high.”
George O’Brien argued that instead of increasing the cost of power, Government should freeze costs while Bermuda is struggling financially.
“I think it’s unreasonable to increase it now. They should have a hold on it for the next three years. They should put a freeze on it. It’s high already as it is.”
Robin Spencer-Arscott said that people turning to renewable energy and trying to conserve electricity has caused lower income for the energy company, causing it to increase their prices.
“A lot of people are looking for alternative sources to save money. If we save money, it means less money for them,” he said.
“I don’t have a lot of sympathy for Belco. They have made a lot of money over the years.”