The Bermuda Industrial Union (BIU), expressing “serious concern“ today BELCO’s most recent increase in the Fuel Adjustment Rate.

In a statement released this afternoon, the union said this latest rate hike “will adversely impact the disposable income of each family in Bermuda” as “the cost of living in Bermuda continues to spiral out of control.”

“While we understand that businesses have the right to operate and make decisions in the best interest of their shareholders and overall bottom line, we have serious concerns about BELCO’s latest increase in the Fuel Adjustment Rate, which equates to a 48.45 percent increase,“ the statement continued.

“The Regulatory Authority has attempted to justify their approval of this increase, but we would ask that they share the data that they have used to justify their position. A quick look at this chart has a barrel of oil priced at $80.11 in July 2023. For 11 months a barrel of oil has been under $100, so even if a barrel of oil was now $100, that still equates to a 25 percent increase.

“It is also unfortunate to learn that this increase in prices for their customer base coincides with a decrease in the amount of money BELCO will pay to electricity generators [i.e., owners of solar panels] for energy that they put into the grid. In 2018, the Feed-In-Tariff rebate allowed those with solar panels to earn 0.2265 cents per kilowatt-hour which has now been reduced to 0.131 cents per kilowatt-hour. This is a 42 percent decrease in earnings for those who have chosen to invest in a cleaner future.

“BELCO monopolizes the supply of energy in Bermuda. This increase will adversely impact the disposable income of each family in Bermuda. As we enter the winter months where families would expect to see a decrease in their electricity expenses, it will either be the same or more. The cost of living in Bermuda continues to spiral out of control. As a country, we cannot continue to operate this way; families cannot continue to be put in predicaments where they must choose between essential items that are needed to survive.

“We urge Bermudians to stand against irrational price gauging, and to hold those whom we put in positions of power accountable for their decision-making – Especially when they have detrimental effects on the livelihoods of so many families.”