Tuesday 19 June, 2018

BL&P: No alternative to bill increase

Managing Director of BL&P during his address to participants of the TVET Council Workshop.

Managing Director of BL&P during his address to participants of the TVET Council Workshop.

The recent announcement by the Barbados Light & Power (BL&P) that Barbadians will be paying more for electricity has garnered much dissent but the utility company has said there was absolutely no way around it.  

Word of this came from Managing Director of the BL&P, Roger Blackman as he spoke to reporters on the sidelines of a workshop held by the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council on Monday. 

Related Article

Blackman said in order for the utility company to balance its books, the increase in electricity prices could not be absorbed. He explained there has been a significant increase in international oil prices and other products used by BL&P.  

"In order to be able to operate as a business those price changes and swings are recovered through the Fuel Clause [Adjustment] and that was put in place many years ago to avoid the utility having to go the regulator regularly whenever the price of oil changes.  

Blackman said there was no way to predict how long the consumer will be forced to pay more on their bill but the hope is that global oil prices will decrease within the next six months.  

"If you look at oil prices it is very difficult to predict; it depends on what is happening in the global environment around the world.

We saw highs last month which were the highest in three years. They have come back down slightly but it is very difficult to predict. Some experts are saying that prices will trend a little lower as we move toward the end of the year and if that happens then we will see a little relief with energy prices." 

Related Article

Blackman said though the options are limited, there are a few short terms measures the BL&P is seeking to ease the consumer's pocket. These include revisiting its fuel hedge application and if successful, this would allow BL&P to "smooth out" the hike in prices.  

He said the only long-term solution was to wean the country off oil completely and switch to renewable energy. This, Blackman said, falls in line with the BL&P 2045 goal of 100 per cent renewables and 100 per cent electrification.  

He added the solar plant at Trents has amounted to savings of around $10 million a year and there is another $200 million in investment projects in the works which would save the country roughly $50 million a year.