BELCO says it is committed to lowering electricity prices. *File photo
BELCO says it is committed to lowering electricity prices. *File photo

BELCO has pledged its commitment to lowering electricity prices in the wake of some stinging criticisms of the firm's electricity monopoly in this morning's Budget Speech.

Finance Minister Bob Richards said Bermudians had 'paid dearly' for the lack of competition in electrical power.

And he told the House of Assembly that it was time to address BELCO, as well as Government's, inefficiencies which were both eroding Bermuda's competitive position as a jurisdiction that provides value to customers.

But this afternoon the energy provider countered Mr Richards’ comments saying that 57.5 per cent of BELCO's costs were made up of the price of fuel and taxes.

And a spokesperson said the company welcomed constructive and realistic recommendations.

A BELCO statement added: "Efficiency is very important to Bermuda Electric Light Company Limited (BELCO), and it is a topic always under review within the company, looking at alternatives and options.

"Last year, BELCO was recognized by CARILEC, the leading association of Caribbean-based utility companies, as the ‘Best Utility in the Caribbean’ based on efficiency, reliability and cost effectiveness.

"BELCO recognizes the impact the overall price of electricity has on the cost of living and the cost of doing business.  BELCO is committed to getting the price of electricity to be lower.

"BELCO will soon submit an ‘Integrated Resource Plan’  to Government with alternative fuel options, generation  resources and energy efficiency initiatives that are now economic, and reliably feasible. 

"BELCO meets regularly with Government and welcomes constructive, realistic recommendations regarding improved efficiency."

In his 2013/14 Budget Speech the Finance Minister said that the monopoly power of BECLO required ;close attention and regulation'.

And he told the House that Government was in discussions with BELCO to ascertain fair and equitable interconnect rates for alternative energy providers.

The BELCO spokesperson added: "In terms of access to the grid for alternative energy producers, since November 1, 2010, BELCO has enabled 156 homeowners with small-scale renewable energy generating systems to connect to the grid.

"BELCO has had a proposal before Government since May 16, 2013 that will allow for the interconnection of larger renewable energy  generating systems; however, to date, no decision has been made by Government on the proposal."