Belco explains facilities charge on household bills
A “new” charge included in Belco bills recently is actually the result of efforts to clarify the billing structure, according to a spokeswoman.
In a letter to
The Royal Gazette, a Pembroke resident noted the introduction of a $30 “facilities charge” on his November Belco bill.
“Three months later it has increased by an inflation busting ten percent to $33,” the reader said.
“I accept that the ‘Energy Charge’ rates, now called ‘Billing Charges,’ have reduced and that currently as a small power user, my overall cost per kWh of power used is about the same, although with a variable ‘Fuel Adjustment Charge’ the month to month comparison is not easy.
“I accept that for residential customers who routinely use high quantities of power that this fixed sum becomes a smaller consideration, but what I am concerned about are the low quantity users.”
He also asked: “If Belco can increase their ‘Facilities Charge’ by ten percent just three months after introducing it, what is to stop them increasing it every three months?”
Responding, a Belco spokeswoman said yesterday that the Facilities charge had previously been included in the overall energy charge, but was separated based on instructions by the Energy Commission to show kilowatt hour consumption by block rates.
“The Facilities Charge is a common rate component in the utility business,” the spokeswoman said. “The Facilities Charge is a fixed fee that covers the cost of all of the equipment and maintenance of the equipment that takes the power from the power station to the customer.
“This includes the transmission and distribution system, substation, meters, transformers, line maintenance, service drops, meter reading, customer service and administration of customer accounts.”
The spokeswoman said the charge has been set at $30 since 2010, and is advertised in January every years and is posted on the Belco website. She also noted that the Energy Commission must approve all rate changes.
The other components of the Belco bill are kilowatt hour usage (consumption) and fuel adjustment, which is increased and decreased based on the price of fuel and the number of kilowatts consumed.
The spokeswoman also stated: “The fuel adjustment rate provides no profit to Belco and is applied to the cost of fuel.”