Barbados Light & Power Responds To Love Letter

From the Facebook Page of Rosemary Parkinson


This is Mr. Worme’s letter to me re those discussions. It is only fair that since I wrote such an angry letter that his side of the coin should also be published. I will make my feelings clear in comments in bold and these will be sent to

Dear Ms Parkinson,

It was a pleasure meeting with you and Ms Galt to discuss the concerns which you expressed publicly regarding your electricity bills and the several other concerns you had about our Company’s operations.While there are always opportunities for improvement, I think our Company has demonstrated in many different ways our commitment to providing a high quality service to our customers and we intend to continue these efforts particularly during these very difficult times for our customers and our country as a whole.

My point: Agreed. It was indeed a fair discussion but must say always in the knowledge that Mr. Worme kept on pointing out that Barbados Light & Power has done nothing wrong. And we are to expect even higher bills as the months roll on.

After discussing your concerns and reviewing the billing of your electricity account, we found the following:

Your account with the greater electricity consumption supplies two air-conditioners, which are in regular use; two clothes dryers, which are used periodically; a refrigerator; other appliances and lighting. The average daily usage on this account between reading periods over the last year has varied from a low of 37.3 kWh per day in cooler months and as high as 58.8 kWh per day in warmer months.

The second account supplies mainly a refrigerator, other appliances and lighting. The average daily usage on this account over the last year varied from a low of 6.7 kWh per day to a high of 7.6 kWh per day during reading periods. The major factors contributing to your recent high bills have been:The high fuel cost. In July the fuel charge and VAT accounted for around three quarters of your overall electricity bill. The increase in usage between April and June was mainly due to higher use of air-conditioning during this hotter period.

My point: Our bill might be lower in cooler months but air-conditioners were still in use (it is just not as hard for them) as this particular house does not get the easterly breezes that seemed to have disappeared from this side of the island since all the development of St. Farlip. And all appliances in question also were being used including Washer/dryer etc.

Our discussion covered many issues ranging from the reason our Company applied for the rate adjustment, which we were granted last March, to the efficiency of our operations. We also discussed the fact that high fuel prices are not something our Government nor our Company has direct control over and, while there is always room for improvement, rather than complain and blame others for the situation, we have to each take responsibility for the things we have control over and to work together as a community to help each other find ways to deal with this problem which is likely to be with us for some time to come.

My point:  I have no problem with the granting of the extra money by government. If it was deserved that is and I have to leave this to the economists ’cause obviously I ent one and + I nevah followed all the back and forths as to why this was required – I was too busy trying to keep my life afloat by working. But this is my problem. If Amera is supposed to be this multi-national Canadian company with a lot of financial power, surely now that they are involved with Barbados Light & Power, they should be able to help in the granting of the necessary loans in order for BL&P to improve their plant. Last year BL&P made 45 million Barbados dollars in profit. This year they are aiming at 53 approx. in order for them to be able to “see the light” – whilst we are in darkness? So why did we have to have Amera in the first place? And whilst I know that Barbadian (and other) shareholders sold out…if BL&P had said no, this may not have happened. But they encouraged shareholders to do so. Of course, we all have choices…and if selling out is one, then we cannot complain about most of Barbados being owned by other countries. Done.

…and yes! I agree that 17.5% vat on electricity which is a required human right in this developed country should not even be imposed….and if it has to be, then a lower amount for light and water should be what we as a people demand from our government….and no! I do not agree that fuel charges are correct, we all see prices going down worldwide but ours going up…do we get different gas/oil from the rest of the world or what. Is ours gold like the gold coast?

From the follow up information that you provided from the monitoring of the usage on your meter over the last 6 days, your average daily usage varied from as low as 17 kWh/day to just over 38 kWh/day. This is a significant reduction from the average of 58.8 kWh/day used between April and June. As you indicated, this has been achieved by turning off the air conditioners on some days and using less on others but this has impacted significantly on comfort level. I am sure if you continue to monitor the usage on your meter and both you and your next door neighbour continue your conservation efforts, you should be able to find the right balance between cost and comfort. I also recommended that you consider the installation of a power monitoring device that could monitor the overall usage as well as the usage on some of your higher usage appliances.

My point: Not only have we been monitoring/reading our metre twice daily (a bloody inconvenience!) and yes! it is reading lower usage but we have literally shut down all appliances including air-conditioners living in darkness and in boiling heat for the last four days…(duh!!) and the best is we are told by separate letter that this horrible inconvenience of having one’s home look like a chinese laundry with clothes hanging all over the place instead of being in the dryer (and yes we could string up some lines in the front yard so we can go ghetto) and the people within looking like naked drenched rats at all given times, will actually save us each maybe $200 a piece, seems completely ridiculous.

As discussed, we at Light & Power intend to continue to play our part to mitigate the high price of oil by optimizing the operation of our generators and to seek cost effective alternatives sources to use of oil in the medium to long term. We hope, however, that customers recognize the role that they too have to play by managing their energy consumption to help minimize the impact of these high oil prices.

My point: But why at the expense of us the consumer? I understand that cost effective alternative sources have been offered/advised by many over the last few years and only now is BL&P thinking about them…only now is government thinking about them? ….so how long will these cost effective alternative sources take to be put in place?

…and yes! before we received our enormous bill we were already playing our part in managing our energy consumption…very much so…now we could as well go live in a hut in the country and use a standpipe to wash our clothes hanging them up between two tree… even ‘though we have worked hard to give us a spot in life that we feel makes our being here comfortable.

I hope you have found this exercise useful and that through the process the information you have obtained will help you find a way to manage your electricity bills more effectively while allowing you to maintain a satisfactory level of comfort in your home.

My point: Mr. Worme you were indeed a wonderful person and I learned a lot from you but this exercise was not as useful  as it should have been because we are still in the same position as we were in before. Probably worse as none of us are comfortable and apart from Laura and myself, we have an elderly bed-ridden lady who is definitely finding it very hard to live in heat.

1. Oh! And tell me something who pays for the electricity used at the BL&P offices – have they turned off their air-conditioners to help bring down consumption?

2. Does our fuel charge include their usage of fuel…just wondered about that one.

3. And I still want to know why we have to pay 2 cents per kwt. for insurance, a company that is owned by BL&P. I am told that insurance companies have put up their prices because of the amount of hurricanes etc. we have had, so BL&P decided to open their own insurance company. Okay I get that. What I do not get is why are we paying for it??? And is it true or is it a rumour that this insurance company also has investors? Surely if my computer suddenly is struck by lightening and I have to replace, I go to my insurance company for help to purchase another one and if I feel that they are not giving me a good deal, yes! I can buy my own insurance company BUT I cannot pass on my investment in another company on to the consumer….I cannot charge my client more money because I had to bring in a new computer…it is part of what happens within any company and those possibilities are iimbedded in my initial and known cost to my client.

Let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Stephen Worme

Chief Marketing Officer

My opinion: Both the government and Barbados Light & Power have to work with us your voters/customers in a much better way…we know about VAT and fuel charges …they need to disappear for awhile…but I would suggest that in the interest of keeping your people happy, Barbados Light & Power, and working with us to lower our charges, perhaps you could consider making those enormous profits a little smaller over a period of time until we get over whatever needs to be gotten over during these hard times. Use Amera. Just saying. Just my opinion.

Just to end: But I do thank you Mr. Worme for taking the time to come to us and write to us. You are definitely an asset to your company and indeed a patient and willing to explain every little detail kind of guy.  And please understand that all  the above are not only my concerns but the concerns of all Barbadians…I know I speak for all of us who have seen our bills suddenly sky-rocket…because I also happen to know that many bills have not – and this little fact is also causing me botheration ’cause if bills go up, dem supposed to go up across the board right??

And I do thank you for your time. This letter is nothing personal…just how I feel. Worse than the picture of me befo’ I was forced to live this way in order to save $200 a month!

96 thoughts on “Barbados Light & Power Responds To Love Letter

  1. Rosemary

    What sort of Security lights do you have?

    Wattage is important.

    When you measure twice daily is your consumption higher at night or during daylight hours and by how much?

  2. Dear Ms or Mrs Parkinson,

    Having read your utterences I am somewhat mindboggled,,,,
    Jeez if you have 2 airconditioners,a (very high electrical consumer) clothes dryer,probably a24cubic ft refrig,plenty security lights,a freezer,multiple gadgets that are constantly left plugged in for a standby mode,possibly well over 70watt lights in and out the residence and god knows what else for a person (I assume of very well means) then what in hell do you expect,,,,,,
    Do you expect the BL&P to pay you for such an extragant life style??????

    My God,I have never and will never have a clothes dryer not here where the sun shines brightly and the average temp is 80F,I got rid of my freezer years ago,,just shop more often,I have no lights on in the house when I’m watching TV,,and if I’m not using it ,,,Its unplugged.

  3. Note I have not and will never have the sophistication of that so called neccessity called an air conditioner in my house.I was given birth to (I assume 80F) and I will go out at approx the same.Live with it or Pay for it.

  4. @Rosemary Parkinson – even after having the facts explained by Mr. Worme, you are still trying to blame everyone but yourself. Your average daily use of electricity is well above that of most Barbadians, and so is your bill.

  5. I certainly cannot cast blame on the operational costs BL&P have incurred as a result of oil price instability. It is quite obvious that if the price of oil goes up it is automatic to expect electricity to also go up. What concerns me is if the Barbados light and Power will be willing to grant leniency towards the many defaulters who will be in arrears because it is just not possible to clear the arrrears amounts in a lump sum payment. Already there are stories of persons who just in two months arrears have to pay close to $800.00. I am just hoping that BL&P who have recognized the difficulties many bajans are faced with during these hard times will not be swift to cut persons electicity supplies too quickly. There are many out there who are suffering severely with the high rate of inflation. Now is the time to show some care.

  6. Now on another closely linked subject…

    That is,the take over of the majority of shares by an outside interest in a most EXTREMELY IMPORTANT part of our infrastructure…..

    Basically it should NEVER HAD HAPPENED!!!
    In my very humble opinion,the Govt should have stepped in (And if necessarily) passed a very urgent Legislation that would have stopped it and as their previous and our previous leader once said Like it or leave it ….
    What would be the repercussions I honestly dont know…But when the Brazillian Govt defaulted on their repayments to the Powerful IMF years ago ,,,and told them quite simply we aint paying,,,what happened,,,NOTHING,,,Now look at Brazil today….

    There is no way that outside interest should have control over such an important factor of our country ,otherwise what the hell did we get INDEPENDENCE for….Or are we really Independent?????????

  7. After years of promoting the takeover of local assets by CLICO the Government can hardly now all of a sudden seek to shackle Emera!!

    I don’t know enough to really comment but my first impression is it may well turn out for the good because it is a case of like company taking over like company.

    Both make their bread and butter in electricity.

    CLICO was an insurance company messing around in businesses it didn’t know one FAC about.

    I will never understand how the Government let that debacle happen … well I kind of can guess.

    We see the outcome.

  8. @ Ms or Mrs Parkinson

    u need to stop complaining about ur high bill and gloating over the fact the s. worme responded to u. so what? it does not reduce anyone’s bill. u need a real life. even the monkeys know that sunlight sanitizes our clothes and u using a dryer. the fact that u have 2 accounts suggests that u have many, many electronic items and ur home is 2 storeys or more and very, large. ur fridge i guess would be the 2-door ice maker ones (the kind that makes ice blocks, where they drop down on the outside). how in God’s green earth do u expect to have a light bill at a decent rate? cut out some of the crap. mine does not go over 150. i go all out to make sure it doesn’t. have not turned on the tv for one yr, unplug the computer, use energy saving light bulb, no microwave, no toaster oven, no dvd, turn on radio at intervals, no washing machine no dryer and i survive quite well. but of course i do not expect the average bajan to make those sacrifices, after all ,that would be beneath u people lol.

    worme can say and try to produce evidence, he can NEVER convince me, the moment those greedy clowns sold their shares, our bills went up. i knew it was going to happen so i prepared myself for the robbing of my earnings yet again. i bet sinckler will not remove or reduce the 17% vat on water, light , telephone to make life easier. how come tho that people in Venezuela do not pay electricity on next kin to nothing? can we not look into their system and at least try to adopt something from them.

  9. Ms. Parkinson thank you for sharing your letter with us. An earlier comment:
    Brutus: “even after having the facts… are still trying to blame everyone but yourself…”
    Let me reassure you;I have no luxuries,yet my light bill has gone up yet again and so are many of my neighbours.
    Please visit your Bank manager regarding a loan; then make enquireis as to finding a competent technician who can install a solar pv system.You should see a difference to your bills and within 3 to 5 yrs it would have paid for itself. You would also have a back-up system when power cuts come and that is very often indeed.
    Batteries will last for about 10 yrs. Disposal of your old batteries, perhaps the company could take that responsibility.
    Some took note of your clothes dryer and your aircon, etc, none of which are a luxury anymore. I have neither, but often I am tempted to purchase an aircon. on the ‘nerer never’! Often when I am going about my business I cannot help but seeing a great deal of ‘washing’ on lines near the road side; this is unsightly. This is a tourist destination and more effort should be made to improve our surroundings. We are vastly running out of places to build, so where one space would house one home years ago; this same space now convenient for 2 to 3 homes.We should be more sensitive to others living nearby as clothing left on lines can be unsightly.I have heard some tourist commented on this and the general filthy conditions one sees near and around dwellings.
    Our bills will keep going up to pay for the high cost of renewables; the ministry should say so.Other countries have found themselves in similar position and they are doing their damness to reduce this by governments giving incentives to the people so they can take measures to reduce their bills.
    Advancements have been made in solar and many other renewables, where we should be at the forefront. In doing so no one wants to be a looser.There is no good-will in todays climate so no one can expect easier times.
    We should collectively fight our corner; we need BL&P at this time; the government and BL&P need us just as much. collectively we can win; divided we can’t.
    In previous blogs I’ve read headlines: Are Bajans clever fools and words like ‘jackassess’. When one sits and ponders, the answer seems to be ‘YES!’ Politicians have noted and so are those in the business arena.
    We can change the way things are, yes we can!

  10. Clothes drying on a line outside unsightly?
    On a tropical island?
    What would you have said if you were to see them bleaching on the grass, as was common in earlier times?

    This is what is wrong with Barbados, to much effing progress.

  11. I also asked Mr. Worme the following in another letter: I want to know for sure and will always want to know for sure until I find out the answer: why not buy your own gas/oil required for your plant. And this was his answer:

    “The majority of fuel we use, which is Bunker C, is purchased from BNOC. As I understand it, they only make a very small mark up. Some time ago this it dictated by Government (the previous one) that we had to buy it from them. I understand the reason for this is that: 1) they have installed the pipeline between Holbourne and Spring Garden and have the sole rights to use this, 2) they use the ships that deliver our oil to take the oil produced in Barbados back to the refinery on their return trip – I understand this is more cost effective for the country. This decision taken by Government I understand is still tied up in court after being challenged by one of the marketers and the FTC.

    The other fuels we use are AvJet, which we buy direct form the marketers who store it for airplanes at the airport, and diesel, which is purchased for the whole country by BNTCL and then sold through the marketers (SOL, ESSO, Texaco). I think has some level of subsidy in diesel so I think it is slightly cheaper that what we would be able to purchase it for on the open market. We have been looking at all of these arrangements for some time and continue to try to improve on them where.”

    • @Rosemary

      Thanks for your continuing efforts to bring clarity to this vexing issue.

      Believe it or not you are asking the same question many have in mind and discuss in whispers.


  12. Smooth Chocolate

    We don’t pay VAT on water.

    What I hope for is removal of VAT on the FAC.

    It won’t be a tremendous change but every little bit helps.

    It is the FAC that is hurting us.

    I saw an article reporting a slight decline in oil prices due to weakness of the American economy.

    Not sure which is worse, reduction in oil prices or weakening US economy!!

  13. Rosemary

    I think you did us a great service by highlighting the plight all of us face and being so honest and straightforward in putting the two sides.

    Not many Bajans would have been so brave.

    As much as I hate the increases I would rather face up to them than have Government subsidize the FAC. I believe that was a disservice done to Barbadians. From where I sit it seems to have been done as part of of a re-election strategy of the BLP implemented in October 2007 which backfired in January 2008.

    I don’t think Bajans noticed or gave dam.

    Now, not only are we left with increasing electricity costs because we did not address the crisis earlier, but I believe we also have a $100 million plus debt somewhere to pay as a result of that subsidy.

    The subsidy then exposed the new Government in 2008.

    They did not remove it till November 2008 when fuel prices had gone back down and the FAC subsidy had no effect. Believe it or not the FAC went up to the levels we see now but back in 2008. The subsidy meant all we saw was 23 cents per kWh.

    I think the DLP should have removed it as it got in and forced us to face up to reality three years ago. I think we are atleast 3 years behind where we should be in tackling this National crisis (and it is a National crisis) because of this fiddling.

    I think the DLP should also enacted the ITAL legislation it committed to enact in early 2008. Had they done so perhaps we would not now be left to guess about the debt for the subsidy and strings attached.

    This was campaign financing at its worst.

    We are left with the bill …. and no benefit!!

  14. Not sure how many noticed, but the Prevention of Corruption Bill died a quiet death in Parliament yesterday. Well, more accurately, it has been referred to a joint select committee of Parliament for revision.

    Finally the government and the opposition have agreed on something – no ITAL yet! Thanks for debating it guys – at least you tried.

    (See report on page 3A of the Daily Nation)

  15. To all who think I am a spoiled brat and should not complain:

    First of all let me tell you that out of everyone who was rattling about electricity bills, I was the only one to ask a direct question (as far as I know) and I am the only one who seems to have gotten the matter public so there would be open discussion. Done deal. You can berate me all you like.

    Secondly: We live in one house that is divided into two. Two people live on one side and I live alone in the other. Please note I said we in my complaint because it is in fact we. What I forgot to mention is that the apartment with the two gets a small separate bill – so on top of the $1,700 please add another $300 take or give a few dollars.

    Certain appliances are connected to one meter – two air-conditioners, two dryers. The meter on the side of my apartment is what gets the bill for these. The meter on other side just deals with other usage on the other side.

    Over the last year we have installed energy saving bulbs everywhere including the security lights – which half the time we forget to turn on but try to remember because both sides have been broken into on separate occasions and jewellery and money stolen. Two security lights one to the front and one to the back. We checked the amount of electricity used by them and it is so minimal that it was not even worth considering.

    I live in a small apartment but basically in one room – a bedroom with an office attached to it. I am a writer and spend a lot of time on the computer. The air-conditioner is necessary because there is no air coming through windows and fans do not help. When I leave the house, this air-conditioner is turned off. When I return to an extremely hot room and office it is turned on.

    This is normal – check out offices all over this island. The room and office are well insulated. I can just see the whole lot of you going to work and finding that you are unable to have air-conditioning because the bill was too high…and you accepting that you have work under sweltering conditions.

    My apartment is usually in darkness except for the room and office I work in and again as I said before energy saving bulbs are used.

    The other air-conditioner in the other apartment is used on occasion by an elderly lady who is bedridden, and please note I said occasionally but more so when the sweltering heat gets to her.

    On one side the washing machine and dryer (the elderly lady and her daughter who works) is used once a week. The iron as well. On my side it is used once every two weeks – I do not iron. I am a writer and do not require office clothes on a daily basis. The reason for the use of the dryer on my side is because of the (a) weather (b) not much space to put clothes outside in the back – so hanging can only take place in the front of the house. Let me see who would like to see clothes hanging out in the front of their house. Clothes are hung next door in a small room when possible – it is also slightly open to the weather. So the druer is used for fast convenience.

    Both sides have one fridge each and both are energy saving fridges.
    I use no appliances apart from my stove which is gas. Hot water comes from solar and we do not ever turn on the switch for extra as this has never been required.

    Our electricity bill has always for the last two years that I have lived here been in the range of $450 going up at a steady rate, balancing off at about $700 for several months. Then suddenly for May we got one for BDS$1,000 + the other for BDS$280 odd – okay so electricity had gone up and we paid not happily but without any fuss. We then even went further in conserving – outside light on some nights, not all. Air-conditioner on my side turned up to 26 degrees just to keep the room cool. Off when I was not there etc. etc. etc. Air-conditioner on other side hardly used but fan used instead. We did everything we could to save.

    But with all this extra saving our bill came in at $1700 from the metre ob my side and another $280 (approx.) for the meter on the other side. A total of close to $1980 BDS. And this is basically what I was screaming about. And asked questions using my name and no pseudo like many I know.

    We immediately had all these appliances checked out by an electrician who came to the house and did an immense lot of measuring. His findings were that even he could not understand why our bill should be so high…everything was working according to how it should be and there was no excessive electricity coming out of the appliances. And this especially so as the fuel charge had in fact gone down by one cent to the previous month.

    For those who want to jump up and down and say that my electrical usage is excessive – it is not. Or so we thought. Hence we wanted to understand- could someone else wire into us? I heard that technology is there so that one’s meter can be read as high and someone else’s can be free etc. etc. I also called around to other friends – some who have the luxury of earning enough money to keep air-conditioners on morning, noon and night…lights on all over the place…use their washers/dryers almost every other day…and their bills were not as high as ours who are conserving daily. Everyone I spoke to either their bill was normal, or their bill was excessive. So why should I not be angry???

    Yes! My Facebook blog was placed on Barbados Underground. Yes! It got people talking. Yes! it was even on Brasstack which I did not even know. Yes! It brought Mr. Worme to my doorstep. And yes! he explained a lot and was very detailed and had a lot of patience in answering our questions. Yes! we took his advice and turned off everything and yes! we have been living under sweltering conditions since his visit and yes! the usage on the meter is at the very bottom.

    My problem is: I work hard to be able to have a few ‘extras’ in my life. I do not see one air-conditioner as being a huge wanton disease – the whole of Barbados who work in offices have them. And to have a dryer is an extra but hell I earned that little luxury because I work like a bitch and do not wish to hang out my clothes (very little as I live in a wrap if you really have to know the details of my daily existence!) . Mea culpa for those little things that mean something to me.

    My problem stems from the fact that with Light & Power’s new bills, all my hard work has taken me back to living like I did years ago (in the 60s) when I was first starting off my working life. That is my problem. And I will stick to it.

    I have an inquiring mind…and when I read all the various comments on this blog. I took up all with Mr. Worme. Including why 2 cents to an insurance fund when I found out that this is a company that Light & Power set up to provide cheaper insurance for their personal use – i.e. hurricanes, general bad weather and damage to poles etc. I questioned and continue to question why am I (and everyone else in Barbados) paying this 2 cents towards another company and I also asked whether they have shareholders. Still no real answer on that one.

    There was much that Mr. Worme answered, there was much I understood but where I did not understand I prodded even further. Did anyone of you do that? So now I am suddenly the ‘rich, spoiled brat”? Seems to me that all of you who have called me names because I stuck to my guns would prefer if this white bitch slept in a hut somewhere and never complained about the quality of my life. I have worked since I was 16 years old…and hard. If one career did not work out I did whatever – from cleaning houses to waitressing, from office work to the creative arts. Work is work for me, always has been. I have paid my dues to this world society as a hard working single mother who never got any much help from anything else but my sweat and tears. I have made many mistakes in my life but I have learned a lot. And one of them is not to sit down and accept…and not to live under a cloak and dagger existence pretending to be what I am not and keeping my mouth shut when I know something is wrong or keeping it open under a disguise! Take that or leave it.

    Whether I live like a Queen or live a meagre life is not the problem. The problem is I wanted to find out why electricity has gone up so much. I even know a little guy in St. John (may have mentioned if before) who lives in a tiny chattel house with two light bulbs, and his bill went from $17 to $75. Would you not be upset? I was upset for him and all the others who have found the rise to be excessive. And I stuck out my nose and did something about it – I screamed all over Barbados.

    So call me what you want now. I am done. I still stand to my conviction. Am happy that I have had the opportunity to voice my opinion and send blessings to those who have attacked me for doing this. I did the right thing. I know I did.

    And I still believe that something ent right when it comes to our electric bills – who or what is at fault I ent really know but I have a good idea. I leave that for other to figure out less I suddenly get another barrage of crap. All I was trying to do was to prove and find out. Simple as dat. And when I was told that I would save $200 to live like a wet rat, well guess what? I will continue to conserve but my air-conditioner is going back on. Take this as you may but it is my only and I mean my only luxury. I go nowhere spending money lavishly and this is my comfort. Sorry I touched on whosoever nerve. I have read your comments and will take them as they were given. A good lesson that’s for sure.

    And please those of you who work….go to your offices today and turn off all air-conditioners and try and save energy, hear?

  16. And I also thank those who have made constructive criticism…and one last little one although I do not see why it is anyone’s business – my fridge is NOT 24 cu. and does NOT have an ice-maker. It is an ordinary fridge that I purchased cash from Standard at $1,500 – go figure!

    And just for those who are interested….after a semi-sleepless night with a fan about two inches from my face, I have begun work at my computer and have turned on the air-conditioner five minutes ago. Bless. And have a great day. David thanks for the support…what you do is an amazing job with this Barbados Underground! You are indeed brave.

  17. @ Rosemary Parkinson……

    Why do you constantly need to be explaining yourself to people?

    You did what you thought was the right thing to do and you stand by your convictions…..that’s it …..done!!

  18. @ RP

    suck it up lady. you cannot expect someone else to subsidize the fuel that you use for such high consumption. For years the gov’t subsidized fuel and built up a massive multimillion dollar debt which I as a taxpayer have had to suffer for with the loss of tax-free allowances and an increase in VAT.

    If you want to use such high amounts of electricity then accept that you have to carry the burden. I as a taxpayer should not have to subsidize you.

  19. By the way – I posted this today on Facebook. I think perhaps we could do more to share important information to keep us safe:

    Let’s work it for Barbados. If the police cannot catch him perhaps Facebook will – Be on your guard – X3512 green corolla – short stocky brown skinned guy with a .45 gun ready to shoot – robbed a number of houses already including Barry Gale and Geofrey Keifer neighbours last nite – he tried to shoot Keifer last night – very bold character! He’s targeting certain homes along south coast and invades home around 6-7 pm

  20. no I have not. why don’t you explain to me why gov’t (read: taxpayers) should subsidize electricity for anyone but the poorest among us. I have high electricity bills too, but at least I recognize that I should pay the full price for my consumption. I don’t believe that anyone that can afford airtconditioning (me included) should have that luxury subsidized.

    The BL&P make a 10% return of very high captial investment which seems to be a reasonable return and was approved by the gov’t regulator. This return comes from a very small part of the overall bill. The remaining cost to consumers is fuel (read Trinis) and tax (read government).

  21. @X …… are still a horse’s ass! Your comprehension skills are extremely poor, and you still have missed the point Rosemary is making.

  22. The ink on the Emerra agreement had dried long before the TWO BL&P FTC hearings came up. The two hearings were therefore a colossal waste of money. When the Chairman passes on, I would love to have some input into his Eulogy (should I survive him). I would have liked to have had an input into PM Thompson’s Eulogy as well. Barbados’ Governments are selling its voters/consumers off to the highest bidder in exchange for foreign currency. Please note that of all the interveners, only Clyde Mascoll said that the BL&P deserved something …!

  23. Ms Parkinson obviously is not from the ‘rusted spoon’ glan who know very well how outside lines work. She is obviously someone who is well off because to describe clothes on a line as unsightly is a description from someone who definitely was not raised in these parts. Ms. Parkinson they are many here who will find your words to be offensive if not discrimanatory since clothes hanging is a norm in our society.

  24. @Island Gal – lawd you wuss dan me, hear? You does really tell it like it is!

    @X – I have not asked government to subsidize anything. Read what island gal has said and take that and shove it.

    I will pay for what I consume (read always have!) but if I have been consuming the same amount (read the same amount) for three years and my bill triples, I have a right to ask why (READ ASK). If you do not wish to do the same, then don’t (read don’t). Simple (read simple). And if you understood Mr. Worme’s explanation on why BL&P do not buy their gas/oil direct you might (read might) get what is going on and come to a (read *light-bulb flicking on and off*) conclusion as to why our fuel charge is so high! And if you had been following these last two blogs on BL&P you will also get (read get) what 2 cent on every kwt. that you are also paying, as well as all of us, is being used for – read dat!

    If one does not question, one does not get answers. So let’s get off the high horse of me being an energy waster/asker-of-government-to gee-me because I am NOT.

  25. name calling does not an argument make.

    the lady needs to rethink her point because if she does not want to partake in ‘ghetto’ practices, nor deal with the climate in which she chooses to live, then she needs to suck it up and pay her high bills.

    I would prefer her to characterise hanging clothes to dry as an environmentally friendly practice instead of a reflection of being in the ghetto. Her alternative which, as opposed to being the more sophisticated option, I would characterise as a waste of precious and expensive resources. She should bear the cost of this.

  26. @Johnny – “Ms Parkinson obviously is not from the ‘rusted spoon’ glan who know very well how outside lines work. She is obviously someone who is well off because to describe clothes on a line as unsightly is a description from someone who definitely was not raised in these parts. Ms. Parkinson they are many here who will find your words to be offensive if not discrimanatory since clothes hanging is a norm in our society.”

    You could only be a Johnny. First of all it is clan and not glan. Secondly discrimamatory is not the correct spelling – look it up!

    Well off? I love dat! You know anyone in the creative arts in the Caribbean well-off? ‘Cause eff you do I would like to know how dem get so ’cause we does do nothing but charity work eff you ask me!

    Not from these parts? Born and bred is the word, right? Born in Venezuela in a tiny little village, of Trini parents, Bajan grandparents, Grenadian and Jamaican family (read in all colours and creeds) bred in places….oh there I go again…explaining myself to an idiot. @Technician – stop me do!!!

    I love to see clothes on a line swinging in the wind. And yes! it is part of the Caribbean. And very attractive in all its colourful (read English spelling) glory. But…and there are buts…Sorry that I happen to now (read now and read now twice!) live in a neighbourhood (read real English spelling) that perhaps might not take kindly to my panties blowing in the wind at the front of the house for all to see….How my words about a clothes line suddenly becomes offensive and discriminatory is beyond me…but certainly and obviously not beyond someone who appears to be full of it (read offensive and discriminatory) in order to believe he has recognized same within a simple context of trying to explain a situation. For crying out loud! Oh! shoots! sorry @Technician…I’ve done it again. Explaining…must be my profession! After all I am a writer.

  27. @Johnny Postle ……..yuh ignorant fool…eff yuh live in an apartment with very little space for hanging clothes out to dry I would think a dryer would be necessary if you could afford one. There are many rules when one is renting, like hanging out clothes in the front yard of yuh house. That is not acceptable by most landlords, looka the houses at Coverley , a house owner has to get permission to have a clothes line outside. And the government put dryers in all dem houses dat was built fuh de lower income people. Ah got some Bop fuh yuh ! PSSSSSsssssss. Yuh bazooodee yet?

    @ X …….yuh foolish bamsee, you have problems? It is sad when goats like yuh does tek every ting and don’t have the BALLS to question.

  28. @X – I will admit that hanging clothes in the wind is an an environmentally friendly practice instead of a reflection of being in the ghetto. Did not mean it the way it was taken by some. Have explained that already. Was more thinking New York actually… since we all know that this little perfect rock has no ghettos.

  29. if you are not calling for a subsidy – can you explain what is meant by VAT and FAC need to go away for a while? Go away where? Are we going to ask the Trinis for free fuel and Moody’s and S&P to not downgrade when the government gives up all that VAT? Your “creative industry’ needs to get a little more pragmatic.

    Also, criticism of spelling and grammer is as weak a counter argument as your friend’s name calling. Keep it substantive.

  30. I have questioned plenty of things and my testicles have little do with the research I’ve conducted. Had you read the previous BU blog on the issue you might have seen some of the fruits of that research. Such as:

    see this link ( for a breakdown of who gets what from an average 300 kWh bill (approx $235).

    – Gov’t gets 15% of the total bill in the form of VAT.
    – 60% goes to BNOC to pay for the fuel used in generating electricity and this includes the actual cost of the fuel plus the excise
    – The remaining 25% is what BL&P gets to cover costs and and an approximate 10% return on their high capital investment. This is something that thee government approved through the company’s regulator at the last rate hearing.

    If BL&P were to give up ALL of their profits on this hypothetical bill, the bill would be reduced by 2.5% or a little under $6. This is one reason why it makes little sense to beat up on BL&P. The reduction would be even less for a bill like RP’s where FAC and VAT makes up a far more substantial portion.

    Informed persons should therefore understand that the major drivers are fuel and VAT both of which BL&P nor consumers have any control over. So accept it, audit your consumption, and make cuts where you can. Also recognize that BL&P is a fantastic resource for assistance in this regard. Try to get someone from BWA to help you understand your water bill the way Worme helped out RP.

  31. X

    You are confused.

    The Government did not subsidise electricity for years. They did so for a year and a month!!

    Look at the FTC report and you will see it started in Oct 2007 four months before elections in January.

    The fourth term was that important to the BLP.

    Bajans did not give a damn and kicked them out.

    The DLP then got saddled with it till Nov 2008 when they dropped it like a hot potato when prices haf fallen and it was politic to do so.

    Again, Bajans did not give a damn that electricity was subsidised and my bet is that very few even realised …. I include myself, obviously you too if you think electricity was subsidized for years!!

    There was no strategic thought that went into the subsidy.

    It was done for purely political purposes if I am reading the graph right.

    If I am right, somebody is owed a debt and I would like to know who and what strings are attached.

    What Rosemary has done is to highlight the crisis into which we have been led by a bunch of idiots looking only for self agrandizement with no belief in their own Nation’s willingness or ability to cut and contrive or to innovate.

    No doubt they will be well represented skinning their teeth on the front page at the Rihanna concert …. in the $500.00 VIP seats …. which we subsidised for them.

  32. @X…John had already done that for us, so you don’t have to try and convince us that you are “Intelligent”. You just don’t make sense on this posting. You are extremely mean spirited and biased.

  33. You’re right in that regard but electricity generation is not the only use of fuel in the island. For many years drivers of SUVs and other deisel vehicles benefited from fuel subsidies and these contributed to the large debt that built up. Fuel consumption is fuel consumption n o matter what the device consuming the fuel and people with big vehicles should, and now do, pay the full price for a resource that we do not produce. (we may generate a little oil but no refined product) That was one of the best actions taken by Thompson. – the removal of the subsidies.

    The debt that built up is the $80mm figure that you sometimes hear about with respect to BNOC and BNTCL. They’ve been working this down since the adjustment to free floating fuel because thhey make a small markup on sales. But no one has publicly released the information on what remains.

  34. I have had nothing but good to say about Mr. Worme. He was wonderful. Because I do not agree with everything he says does not make me evil. I understand that VAT and Fuel are not controlled by BL&P – read what I said about that. Perhaps it was this suggestion that has all in a tizz: “Both the government and Barbados Light & Power have to work with us your voters/customers in a much better way…we know about VAT and fuel charges …they need to disappear for awhile…”.

    It was tongue in cheek the part of disappear for awhile – sorry about the sense of silly humour that I do tend to write with sometimes.

    ….but must say that what I do believe is that BL&P and government could work with us the consumer just a tad more…i.e. maybe reduce the vat a little and perhaps allow BL&P to purchase their own fuel? And take away that 2 cents per kwt. maybe? I know this would reduce their profits and all our bills…on the other hand unless they can explain to the average out there, like myself, why we should be paying for their insurance company because surely as I mentioned that should be part of their adjusted price given by government? This 2 cents as far as I can understand goes to an insurance company that is owned as a separate entity by BL&P. May even have its own shareholders. I was simply asking. Just asking for clarification really. That’s all.

    Whether I like it or not, I have to pay my bill. But if we do not ask a question when the (and I repeat again!) bill suddenly jumps for the same consumption, perhaps we could be regarded as sheep that just follow the leader and perhaps bills could just continue to rise willy-nilly.

    By the way I ask the same questions about everything I purchase that is one price one day and another the next…not just Light & Power. I have nothing against this company….they have served us well. But something did not seem right and I questioned it. Simply dat.

    Re always asking questions. Sample: I went to a large supermarket the other day and our local ice cream had gone up by a dollar from the previous day. It was a Friday that I asked the reason for this of a supervisor. He replied and I quote: “That’s strange. Will have to look into it because we put up all our prices on a Monday.” So I warned those who read the things I question…no ensure that all groceries are purchased by a Sunday from this particular supermarket, because prices go up every Monday! Tongue in cheek gives us all a smile but I guess one has to have a sense of humour in the first place. Ahhhh…..

  35. It is amazing how the BL&P issue of high rates continues to resonate with Bajans. With a budget upcoming it seems a slam dunk that Minister of Finance Sinckler will offer a reduction on VAT on light bills.

    Reverting to a subsidy runs counter to the MTS of government.It is amazing how the BL&P issue of high rates continues to resonate with Bajans. With a budget upcoming it seems a slam dunk that Minister of Finance Sinckler will offer a reduction on VAT on light bills.

    Reverting to a subsidy runs counter to the MTS of government.

  36. That would sound good to me David….By the way the warning I put out about the thief…apparently he is changing license plates….last night it was MF something or the other….So sad eh? that out little sweet rock is being changed so much by criminals….ah well… sign of the times….guess we should not complain but just let them shoot and steal as they please. Bless.

  37. We need to be looking beyond BL&P towards possibly cheaper and greener methods of generating power. Hopefully BL&P haven’t been given total monopoly powers which would prevent subsitute power generation options being developed.

  38. @Rosemary Parkinson | July 20, 2011 at 7:38 AM |

    i live in an apartment where my neighbour and i share the same meter. i was told from someone at the electric co that cost would have been high because of the stress of having a system such as that. they also said that it was unfair as some would be paying for the other’s use of the electricity. i understood quite well because after we had separate metres, my bill was drastically reduce to less than a quarter of what i used to payi(that was about 2 years ago).

  39. @Weston: “Hopefully BL&P haven’t been given total monopoly powers which would prevent subsitute power generation options being developed.

    BL&P have what is known as a “natural monopoly” on electrical power transmission and distribution. This is why they are regulated by the FTC.

    Look around you — see all the poles, cables and transformers? That’s T&D. It makes no sense to duplicate it. Even C&W (LIME) don’t, except in exceptional instances.

    Power generation is currently mostly conducted by BL&P (and is not a natural monopoly), but they themselves welcome anyone serious to generate power and feed it into the grid. Why? Because they wouldn’t have to invest capital to have access to that power to sell to their consumers.

    This all was articulated during the BL&P Rate Hearing, although the FTC refused to listen to deep discussion on this matter at that time.

  40. Wow i like i struck a nerve. Thanks for correcting the spelling. I really cannot spell too well. No need to get so highly offended. Its just the way you describe hanging clothes like it is something detestable.

  41. @Johnny…I answer you straight but to you it means you struck a nerve? And then yu advise me to not get so offended. No, me dear, you did not strike a nerve nor did yu offend me. You offended yourself. If you say something that I personally find outta order, I will simply answer. My nerves are good – I take tonic daily for dat! Offend me? No Sah…for this is my mantra “nothing others say and do is a projection of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be a victim of needless suffering.” Perhaps you might like to take it up as yours too. Bless.

  42. @Rosemary

    Somebody had to lead and you took up the issue and as a consequnce John give us some pointer. You need to be like me, sometimes ignore some of the people why try to berate you. If the slaves did not see the need to revolt, perhaps the system might have been still around,


    Contine your presentations.


    YOu do likewise and forget Islandgal. She needs to be cent to a ciilized school. She is always ready to attack people personally.

  43. “YOu do likewise and forget Islandgal. She needs to be cent to a ciilized school. She is always ready to attack people personally.”

    For those of you who have a spelling problem, whenever a red line appears underneath a word, it tells you that the spelling is incorrect. Please right click on your mouse and the choose the correct word. It will not correct words used incorrectly like CENT when you mean SENT! Some words will always appear incorrect because it depends on the type of dictionary WordPress is using i.e. American English or Oxford English. Here endeth the lesson

  44. @Rosemary P

    Your costs seem to be high due use of air conditioning and I could imagine how uncomfortable it must be for you to endure sweltering conditions to work. I have been trying to do some work while here on vacation and I can’t even seem to concentrate in this heat. I have a few tips for you (not sure if Mr Worme gave you any similar ones).

    You could install a ceiling fan or use a normal standing fan in your room with the air conditioner, set the AC temperature to 27 or 28 C and use both fan and AC simultaneously. This should create decent savings while providing you with manageable comfort levels.

    You should consider installing a hood over the window(s) in the room especially if they are south or west facing windows.

    Push out windows are also better than the push up ones if you are hoping for some breeze at night. Depending on the lay out of your room if you have a window face the windward side and one on the opposite side, open the window on the windward side as much as possible and the one on the opposite side only half way. This should enhance a nice little cross breeze.

    You could move your workstation as far away from the warmest wall as possible and if you could put a book case of something like that between you and the wall it would be better.

    These things should make your comfort level a bit better, since you should not sacrifice that if your work depends on it.

    Others things could include using an LED desk lamp for lighting when you are working at night.

    If possible you could move your refrigerator as far away as possible from the stove and any other sources of heat and make sure there is sufficient space between it an anything around it for good air circulation.

    As for the dryer that is a difficult issue if clothes lines are not possible, only thing I can think of to suggest is to invest in a small grid tied PV system which may not be economically viable for you at this time.

    You could get an energy monitor also. I bought one for my parents about 2 years ago and it has really given them a lot more awareness of their consumption and how to manage it better.

    There are also many other little things that may make things a little better but it depends a lot on the layout of your house and if you are willing to make modest investments to reduce your bill over time. I am a certified RE and EE engineering professional and I am willing to help for free if you so desire.

    Well, as X had mentioned, in the electricity bill what BL&P actually gets is a small fraction of the total cost. On my parents’ electricity bill which coincidently shows a read consumption of 299 kWh, the amount that goes to BL&P is 25.8% of the total discount fee. I have been imposing on my parents for many years now on how to conserve and I believe they are doing a decent job in a house with most modern amenities and 3 adults living in it. Consumption is usually between 200 and 300 kWh per month.

    I think the shock that is being seen in Barbados now, is that persons finally have to pay the real cost of electricity, and believe it or not Barbados is on the lower tier of electricity cost in the Caribbean.

    As Weston said yes we need to be looking for alternatives but sadly I don’t think energy prices will get cheaper with these alternatives. They will just be ways to brace us from increasing costs in the future. High oil prices cause a wave of increases in transportation costs and manufacturing costs so all the tools, wires, pipes, lubricants and whatever else is used for the entire generation, transmission and distribution system have become more expensive and will continue to become more expensive. Temperatures and weather are also becoming more extreme which is contributing even more to these issues in many parts of the world. I don’t think anyone should expect prices to go down in any significant way unless we go through another serious global economic crisis or we discover some new superior form of energy conversion.

  45. @RE Engineer: “High oil prices cause a wave of increases in transportation costs and manufacturing costs so all the tools, wires, pipes, lubricants and whatever else is used for the entire generation, transmission and distribution system have become more expensive and will continue to become more expensive.

    So, then… Are you saying that we all are doomed?

    @RE Engineer: “Temperatures and weather are also becoming more extreme which is contributing even more to these issues in many parts of the world.

    I found it somewhat interesting that in the international news that many talked about how their solutions to ambient heat was to stay indoors within air conditioned spaces.

    @RE Engineer: “I don’t think anyone should expect prices to go down in any significant way unless we go through another serious global economic crisis or we discover some new superior form of energy conversion.

    Funny that… After the last global economic crisis (which we are still recovering from) we all faced energy cost increases.

    And, for some reason, a “new superior form of energy conversion” hasn’t yet manifested.

    Might you have a solution to this problem?

  46. @Christopher H

    I am not about spreading doom and gloom scenarios but oil production and refining capacity hasn’t increased significant over the years and very few new fields are being discovered and few new refineries being built. Maybe the powers at hand have a trick up their sleeves but more nations are coming into the modern age and demanding more energy services. Additionally, population is growing with persons living longer. Finite oil resources, more consumption and less supply tends to point to an increase in scarcity and hence increased value.

    Well staying indoors in air conditioning compounds the problem due to the heat island effect so I am not sure how that could be a sustainable solution.

    At the beginning of the crisis energy prices plummeted but after a while began to rise again. A lot of the rising demand probably had a lot to do with China which has been doing quite well despite the recession. They overtook the US in terms of total energy usage and if their (Chinese) average per capita consumption becomes anywhere near that of North America then I couldn’t imagine what energy prices would look like. Add on to that that China holds a lot of the world resources in precious metals which are used in various equipment including batteries and magnets so they have been quite in control of a lot of the prices worldwide where there has been an upward trend as exports are restricted and more stuff redirected to push the development boom that is currently going on in China. Most countries haven’t recovered yet, so imagine when most do. The ripple effect is also deadly with all costs going up including food.

    Currently there is a lot of talk about liquid-fluoride thorium nuclear reactors, still ongoing research on nuclear fusion, there are theories that oil isn’t finite but seeps up from the core of the earth so we should be able to find a way of tapping into it. There are looking at capturing solar energy from outside the earth’s atmosphere and beaming it down in a highly concentrated form to power distribution centres. There are a whole heap of things going on out there in the energy world from plausible to highly improbable. No one knows what is the next big thing or if there will be a next big thing for that matter. For me and in my work and personal life what I have been looking at are more along the appropriate technology lines based on the standard laws of thermodynamics. Try to use energy in the purest form possible while avoid consuming too much plus avoiding the unnecessary things. Efficiency is more than skin deep, maybe there are whole processes that can be bypassed rather than looking to maximise its efficiency. There are a lot of things we can use more efficiently and over the years that is the only way that most businesses actually survived using as little as possible to produce as much as possible with optimum levels of quality.

    Paraphrasing from the video – some experts say it’s a problem, some experts say it isn’t a problem. However, we are the ones with the problem. So clearly we should all be looking to find some solutions.

    My life quotes is:

    “The optimist says the glass is half full. The pessimist says the glass is half empty. The Sustainability Consultant says the glass is twice as large as it needs to be.”

  47. @RE Engineer: “The optimist says the glass is half full. The pessimist says the glass is half empty. The Sustainability Consultant says the glass is twice as large as it needs to be.

    Please support your argument.

    How is the glass twice as large as it needs to be?

  48. Just a guess … but maybe that is the only way the Natural Gas pipeline will get built in the Caribbean …. power companies with the financial resources will do it and control their energy supply …. so maybe electricity prices may actually fall in the future.

    Does anyone know what is happening with the proposed pipeline?

  49. @RE Engineer: “…there are theories that oil isn’t finite but seeps up from the core of the earth so we should be able to find a way of tapping into it.

    Do you actually believe that bull shit?

    Perhaps we can all fart in the general direction of a vacuum cleaner.

    Think of the slogan: “Pass gas; solve the world’s energy problem!

  50. @Christopher H

    My quote is part jest part serious. For me it just highlights people’s differences in perspective. For some looking at a glass of water the whole idea would be that the water in the glass is a good sign – that at least we have some water so lets all be happy and grateful. To others it would be doomsday that water is running out and cause for panic that the worst is yet to come. To the ‘action man’ it would be a sign that we need to be more effective starting with adjusting size of the glass to efficiently hold its contents, a glass half the size can hold the same amount with the extra destined for something useful i.e see the opportunity to do something. Interestingly enough I believe all three perspectives have some merit.

  51. @Christopher H

    Of course I do not believe that BS. I am a man of science and of logic and so far there is no scientific proof of such so I won’t be spending my life researching that or waiting for that to occur. However, from the history of science, many hypotheses are consider lunacy until they were proven, so who knows, maybe someone somewhere will prove us wrong, but until then I will working hard on my solar, wind, energy and water efficiency solutions. I leave all that type of locate-more-oil-control-and-oppress-its-rightful-owners research for the rich nations and I will be working with the plentiful and virtually untapped resources of my homeland.

  52. @ Ms. Parkinson

    In addition to what the EE engineer has said, I would suggest you install double glazed windows, if you can afford them. they keep the cool in and the heat out and are worth the $$. Failing that have BLP change your meter/or the meter reader. Meters do GO haywire at times and speed up. Ontario Hydor has had to re-imburse people in my area for charges billed as a result of defective meters. Your charges seem high for what you use.

    My security lights all have motion detectors attached and come on only with movement in the yards. Sometimes it’s just a neighborhood cat, a rabbit or even high wind, but they save money. In summer I use an outdoor umbrella type clothes dryer. In winter I half dry in the dryer and finish on indoor lines. I can afford to dry them fully, but I cheap.

    Just my two cents worth.

  53. The idea had its genesis with Patrick Manning, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, who announced in his annual budget that his country was going to undertake one of the largest civil engineering project in the Caribbean region.

    The project suffered a brief setback when Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez petition intensely that the pipeline should instead originate from Venezuela and should transport oil rather than LNG.[1] Chavez further stated that the pipeline should continue to Cuba and the United States. Which added new dimensions of complexity to the project overall given length. It was mooted that transport liquid natural gas in a liquid form required super chilling the gas and transport of such long distances such as to Cuba would have required new points to re-chill the LNG to keep it in a liquid state during transportation.

    In March 2010 the Barbados indicated after a two year hiatus that it would seek to move toward the negotiations stage for the 177-mile (285 km) pipeline from Tobago to Barbados.

    Even Chavez wants a piece of the action. Clearly his goal is to get Venezuelan oil (liquid) to the US market.

    I would guess we will see major players in the laying of this pipeline in the foreseeable future.

    Major investors from Canada and Korea to be entering the energy market in the Caribbean must mean something very profitable will happen soon.

    We have some real estate offshore out there in the Atlantic Ocean that could be very, very valuable, maybe even onshore too!!

    I remember as a boy hearing my father, a Civil Engineer, speaking of the oil/gas potential from way back in the 1960’s.

    I have his maps and charts he used pore over. He would have been in his element with the mapping technology that exists now.

  54. Please allow me to make a few suggestions.
    In a time of protracted recession or of growth below 1.5% we should have an automatic freeze on the profits of monopolies, especially utility companies. If a company like BL&P needs to invest in essential equipment in such tough times, then government should raise the finance through bonds and have the money repaid at a time of economic recovery. Shareholders in BL&P must pay electricity bills too right? Or do they pay a lower rate? Surely they can have a heart and be willing to see that maintaining such high profits for their shares is destroying the economy for all of us.

    When we speak of renewable energy has anyone considered using bio diesel (made from used cooking oil) to fuel the generators at BL&P. I use it in my truck and I get better performance and apparently far reduced pollution out put. The process is far less complicated than refining crude oil and we could make arrangements to increase the availability of used cooking oil (of which I imagine we have thousands of gallons a day) by taking the waste from all those lovely cruise ships that would other wise dump it into our lovely ocean. That might be a smart way to really start greening our economy.Alternatively we could look at using the bio diesel in community power plants with contributors hooking up to house hold generators. Don’t throw it down the drain.

    Last of all we could try some civil disobedience and refuse to pay our light bill for one month. Let the BL&P feel what it is like to have greatly reduced income, as a collective demonstration of people power.


  55. @ maat

    As was said by another contributor and also by the BL&P on numerous occasions on tv, radio and in the paper. On an average electricity bill about 75% of the cost is due to fuel and VAT. The other 25% is what BL&P actually pockets to run their operations. Which is by far one of the most efficient operations on the island in my opinion. Let’s say they make a 10% profit on what we actually give them. If they were to get no profit at all that would provide for only a 2.5% reduction in your overall bill. Or about $5.75 for the average user who has a $230 bill. The passionate outrage across the island is due to persons actually now realising the actual cost of electricity. It has nothing to do with BL&P. Check out electricity prices in some of the other Caribbean islands and compare their average salaries and those of Barbados. Also study how much does the average bank, insurance company and companies like LIME here make in profit yearly. BL&P’s profits are not in the least extravagant especially for a monopoly. Yes it is a monopoly and a critical service but it is also a business and yes the shareholders pay electricity bills etc. But if you were a shareholder/investor would you not want a return on your investment. If you have money deposited in the bank, your hard earned money and the bank turns around and says well it is hard times so no interest for you this year would you readily agree to that deal? Everybody shoutin but nuhbody ain’t lisning. BL&P is a natural monopoly on transmission and distribution but not on generation. Another generation company coming into the market ain’t gonna mekk it nuh easier, they have to buy the same oil run the type of generators and have the same type of set up more or less, governed by the same FTC rules.

    As for biodiesel there is a company called Amelot Oil (I think) that is doing that as far as I know, they had started in collaboration with the Future Centre and to my knowledge they get oil from different sources like Cheffette, other restaurants and they had some relationships with schools for them to bring in used cooking oil. However the amount of waste cooking oil is a drop in the ocean compared to BL&P’s consumption. I would estimate about 15 000 tonnes of fuel oil per month is required for BL&P operations. So if all used cooking oil were converted to biodiesel it wouldn’t make a huge impact and the biodiesel process doesn’t make a huge impact on the overall cost of the diesel either.

    All and all this is what electricity costs. We have little oil so we have to import almost all of it. Barbados’ fuel bill (for electricity production) is quite probably over $300 million per annum. So when we do the math who has to foot that bill along with the operation and maintenance costs of the whole thing? That is over $1000 per year for every single man, woman and child on this island (assuming a population of 280,000). The users have to pay, either directly or indirectly, we all have to come to grips with it. Civil disobedience is an exercise in futility.

  56. Maat

    Please allow me to make a few suggestions. In a time of protracted recession or of growth below 1.5% we should have an automatic freeze on the profits of monopolies, especially utility companies.

    The profit BL&P makes is determined by two things consumption of their product (sales) and their efficiency (costs).

    A recession should cause the demand for their product to fall … and hence their sales.

    They will respond by becoming more efficient at what they do.

    The net result of these two opposing forces on their profits (sales minus costs) will cause those profits to rise or fall.

    I would not be surprised if their profit is smaller next year because of the increasing awareness of their customers of the need to conserve energy … reduce their bill!!

    … nor would I be surprised if their profits increased because they did what they do better, faster and cheaper.

    I would know which force dominated by looking at their sales on their publicly available comparative financial statements.

    If they fell and their profit still rose …. hats off to them, they improved their efficiency.

    Why in heavens name would we want to penalise efficiency?

    Shouldn’t we be instead learning from them?

  57. Did the LPH directors not foresee the increase in earnings when they recommended that the shareholders accept the lower end of the KPMG valuation and therefore erred in their recommendation (if I am not mistaken the valuation range was around $26-$33 per share) or did they anticipate the increase in earnings and considered the $26 appropriate compensation for such?

  58. RE Engineer
    Perhaps you should just stick to engineering and leave common sense to others.
    Why should ANY company be guaranteed a 10% profit when all their customers and suppliers are making losses or just breaking even?
    Here is why NOT!
    ….because then they would have no incentive to become innovative. That is why renewable energy has been such a low priority for BL&P?
    After decades of GUARANTEED profits, what R&D contributions has BL&P made to engineering or to Barbados?

    Do you think If there was still a law guaranteeing Cable and Wireless a huge profit on their old black house phones, that every man woman and child would now have a blackberry? and
    How do you know the efficient of a monopoly in the absence of competition? a one eyed man is king among blind men.

  59. A. Freeman | July 23, 2011 at 6:20 AM |

    Did the LPH directors not foresee the increase in earnings when they recommended that the shareholders accept the lower end of the KPMG valuation and therefore erred in their recommendation (if I am not mistaken the valuation range was around $26-$33 per share) or did they anticipate the increase in earnings and considered the $26 appropriate compensation for such?

    Is it only increased short term earnings that justified the higher price per share that Emera was willing to pay?

    I think the long term prospect for any enery supply company with plant based on oil supply is not good.

    I think there is alot more than short term earnings that would make the share price in a company increase.

    For example, and this is a guess for argument’s sake, suppose the directors recognised that the 80% of its generating plant which runs on oil needs in the long term to be phased out in favour of plant that runs on another form of fuel?

    Suppose the new shareholder had the werewithal (technial, finacial or whatever) to facilitate the changeover whereeas the existing shareholders did not?

    Suppose also, that the new shareholder, because of something it had which the other shareholders did not, found the purchase of shares in the company was attractive because it allowed it to participate in something much bigger than BL&P?

    Both parties win.

    Free Enterprise at work.

    There would be an element of criminality in a recommendation to shareholders to sell their shares if the directors took the position that the (suppose necessary for argument’s sake) changeover put BL&P in a weak position where the shareholders should sell their shares at giveaway prices.

    What determines share value at a particular point in time?

    One approach is to take the Net assets and divide it by the number of issued shares.

    That’s why the availability of the properly audited figures makes any recommendation by the directors far more transparent.

    If somehow it could be shown the books were cooked, and it seems to me that is not possible, and/or the share price was below what a reasonable person would expect,and it seems to it isn’t, then it is possible to question any director recommendation to shareholders to sell at a depressed value particularly if the books were cooked.

    If neither is he case, then the directors are beyond reproach.

    The principals of the “free enterprise” system then determine the outcome ….. unless Government steps in!!

  60. John, thanks for the feedback regarding LPH. What are your views on why the C&W shares are trading at what seems to be a low price, with a dividend return of more than 11% over the last year?

  61. @Fair is Fair,

    BL&P does not have any guaranteed profits. If this was so the rates would have to increase as their non-fuel costs increase. And BL&P would be able to invest in the most expensive renewable energy plant they could find and pass the cost to consumers.

    How long did it take for BL&P to get town planning permission for the wind turbine at Lambert’s? Is that BL&P’s fault? There are other renewable energy projects that have been in the works for several years and it is not BL&P that caused the delays.

  62. C&W/LIME or whatever is a ball of twine to me and I have not found the end to pull.

    I don’t quite understand how it works.

    Unlike electricity and water the method of revenue earning is not as logical.

    Consumption is not measured in time but in discrete units … fixed rate.

    The closest BL&P approximates to it is in its customer charge and demand charge but these are small components.

    Skype and other means should remove overseas calls as a large revenue generating activity but you still need DSL!!

    On the other hand cell phones must be a source of huge income for it as it seems everybody I see on a day is glued to these gizmos.

    I have not done much thinking about this utility as it seems impossible to control consumption and still derive utility.

    You are either in and pay, or you are not.

    I don’t like that.

    I prefer pay as I use.

    I prefer to use the underlying processes which generate revenue for a business and on which its costs are based in getting to an intuitive feel for value.

    The books are important too because they are a sanity check.

    I know you did not raise the other utility but venture to say that if BWA were a publicly traded company (yeah right!!) I would say its share value would be zero based on its books.

    Yet it is a monopoly.

    I think the electricity component in the water alone must eventually force Government to increase rates, and that is not considering that the source of its product is fixed …. and the limit reached more than a decade ago.

    Despite improvements in desal technology, electricity must make its attractiveness decline.

    I wonder if BWA pays the fuel charge on the electricity used to supply water at Spring Garden.

    It is possible to figure out on physical principles what the electricity component in the pumped water from wells is from an understanding of how the process works, not so easy with “desal” water.

    Please note, I would hate to see Government privatise the supply of water ….. but that is another story to tell!!

    This is kind of a long rambling answer to your question about C&W when all I should have said is “I don’t know”.

  63. Neither John or Brutus have any idea what they are talking about.
    Profit not guaranteed? what was the rate case about then?

    Mr John – your last answer says it all.
    You dont know.

  64. Dear John, what is the role of the FTC on your scenario?

    Audit, audit and then audit again!!

    Ensure that returns on shares do not exceed agreed limits.

    Ensure the measurement systems are adhered to.

    … but, shares do not fall under the ambit of the FTC.

    I doubt short term earnings are the sole attraction for Emera here and the Koreans in Jamaica.

    Maybe there is another explanation besides participation in something bigger but if the “free enterprise” system is at the root there shouldn’t be.

    Perhaps we need more info on the pipeline and its implemenation …… and perhaps more importantly, what is its competitor.

    Where else could supply fuel via a pipeline to the Caribbean area and how would it be delivered?

  65. Mr John – your last answer says it all.
    You dont know.

    Couldn’t agree with you more!!

  66. Re the purchase of shares by Emera, let’s not forget what happened:

    – Emera first purchased the Light & Power Holdings shares held by Leucadia (38%), at BB$25.70 per share
    – Emera then made the same offer to all of the other shareholders of LPH
    – the directors of LPH engaged KPMG to review the offer. KPMG gave a range for the value of the shares but also concluded that the Emera offer was fair
    – the directors then advised the shareholders based on this and other factors

  67. @Fair is Fair

    You seem to be the one who doesn’t know what you are talking about. As Brutus explained they are not guaranteed any such profit margin. There profits depend on their level of efficiency like any other privately owned company. The whole point of the hearing was to augment their return on investment (which still isn’t guaranteed) to encourage better investment for the future . That is why the FTC came in do determine what kind of return on investment is fair and would encourage investment. I think LIME is a poor comparison since their product is very different. Do you know that in many cases many analysts believe one should not be charged for text messages since they ‘piggy-back’ on the packets already being sent to the phone so no matter how many you send it doesn’t really cost the company any more money to send them, so they are technically charging for something that is in essence free. BL&P can’t do the same since every electron that leaves their plant has a full associated cost, there is only one product in question, not multiple.

    BL&P has been researching for over a decade in solar and wind energy. It took them almost that entire time to get planning permission for the wind farm to no fault of their own and I foresee other road blocks if/when they proceed. Solar energy at the utility scale is only just now reaching economic viability and still has its inherent issues.

  68. I think a lot of people thought the FTC was set up to give consumers a fair price for a product that somehow suits the needs of the overall economy.

    Decisions to give monopolies increased earning capacity do not seem reasonable. Everyone must share the weight of a recession, especially where some companies and shareholders face no competition for their product or service.

    Every other company or business on the island has to face reduced profits, to re adjust targets and to increase efficiency in troubling financial times, so why not the BL&P?

    A position could be taken by this company to assist the government (i.e the people) of this country, in the BL&P’s hundredth year of existence, in the midst of a recession, to cover some of the fuel costs, instead of passing them onto the customer. They could afford a 50% reduction in profits for a couple of years. The consumers would be grateful, they would have less late payments, the economy may recover quicker and the BL&P would establish a new character of corporate compassion.

    There are other companies in the country that have reduced their profit margins in order to maintain jobs, they have no guarantees that their investment will secure a certain level of return. Many of the companies that have taken the decision to accept lower profits face stiff competition, but have taken the position that they have made hay while the sun shone and will survive off the profits from the good old days.

    Corporate compassion stems from human compassion and the people that share in the profits from the BL&P are human beings.

    I do agree that marching up and down as a form of civil disobedience to demonstrate our dis satisfaction serves little purpose as it can be ignored, but not paying a bill for a month cannot.

    Show a little compassion BL&P


  69. @maat
    As was said before a 50% reduction in BL&P’s profits means a less than $5 saving on the typical bill. If BL&P absorbed fuel costs they would make a massive loss. When gov’t subsidised fuel cost for domestic customers they racked up a bill of almost $100 million.
    Electricity is expensive, face it!! Why is no one listening?

    • Now that EMERA is calling the shots at LPH does the government of Barbados still have to guarantee foreign borrowings if it goes to the market to cover sovereign risk?

  70. @RE Engineer: “Electricity is expensive, face it!! Why is no one listening?

    If I may go somewhat tangential, I had an interesting experience the other day…

    I was in a store buying a product. Because I’m known having been involved with the BL&P Rate Hearing, I’m often the subject to rants from those who think it’s my fault electricity is so expensive…

    Store Owner (SO): “The electrical bills are ridiculous. That company doesn’t need all that money — they don’t make any investments.

    CH: “Ummm… Yes, they do. How else do you think they generate and deliver electricity?

    SO: “They don’t need all that profit! They got enough money.

    CH: “Ummm… They are only allowed a 10% rate of return [read: profit] based on the Rate Base [read: their investment directly associated with their investment on electrical generation and delivery]. Why don’t you complain about Cable and Wireless, who are making much more profit?

    SO: “Don’t talk to me about C&W. BL&P don’t deserve that much profit!

    CH: “So, let’s talk about this. You’re selling me this product for $10. How much did it cost you to purchase?

    SO: “Ummm… I buy them 10 at a time for $88.

    CH: “So, you’re making 13.6% gross margin on your investment. That’s better than the 10% BL&P are allowed.

    SO: “That’s different!

    CH: “Why?

  71. @CH

    I find your experience very interesting though not shocking. There seems to be a certain disdain for BL&P, I guess it is due to the fact that electricity is now seen as a necessity rather than a luxury while most LIME services are still more or less under the luxury headline. I think it is such a pity since BL&P makes profits that are mediocre compared to some banks, insurance and distribution companies, while providing quite efficient service. It doesn’t seem like the views of most persons will change anytime soon despite efforts to disseminate the facts. At least hopefully people would become more aware of viable alternatives and conserve energy so we can save some foreign exchange.

  72. @REE: “There seems to be a certain disdain for BL&P, I guess it is due to the fact that electricity is now seen as a necessity rather than a luxury…

    I actually think it’s more likely that consumers are seeing their electrical bill increase just about every month, and assume it is because of BL&P making unreasonable profits.

    As you and I (and a few others) know, this is not the case — it’s entirely a function of the cost of fuel. As was made very clear during the Rate Hearing (and before and since) BL&P make no profit from this — they are simply passing on their cost for said fuel for the electricity generated.

    @REE: “…while most LIME services are still more or less under the luxury headline.

    I would argue that digital communications (telephony and internet) (ICT) are now as important as electricity for a people’s competitiveness. And that some individuals spend as much on digital communications technology and services as they do for electricity.

    @REE: “At least hopefully people would become more aware of viable alternatives and conserve energy so we can save some foreign exchange.


    However, it always annoys me when people say “power from the sun is free — why don’t we use that free power?”.

    It is more accurate to say that the sun’s energy is free. But workable power from that energy involves infrastructure and thus investment.

    It could be equally argued that oil is free — it is just laying there in the ground (and was created mostly thanks to our sun).

    But extracting that oil, and converting it into power, takes investment.

    Fundamentally, no workable power is free.

  73. @CH,

    That store owner’s gross margin on the item you bought was 12%. His markup was 13.6%. It doesn’t take away from the point you made, but I know you are a stickler for accuracy 🙂

  74. @CH: “I actually think it’s more likely that consumers are seeing their electrical bill increase just about every month, and assume it is because of BL&P making unreasonable profits.”

    I agree with you that that is the concept most seem to hold in their minds. However, in my experiences, after explaining the facts about how much profits BL&P actually receive the retort is that they should subsidise it for the people and they should absorb costs in some form or fashion because it is killing the people, and people cannot be expected to live in the dark or in the stone ages. That is why I say people see it as a necessity rather than a luxury.

    “I would argue that digital communications (telephony and internet) (ICT) are now as important as electricity for a people’s competitiveness.”

    I agree with you 100%. However there are a lot of persons that don’t see very high speed internet or a blackberry service as a typical everyday necessity. Especially many members of the older generation. Beyond a standard land line service and perhaps a very basic pre-paid cellular service, some people view all the other things as unnecessary in their daily lives. So their spending or perceived importance of ICT is much lower than that of electricity.

    “But extracting that oil, and converting it into power, takes investment.”

    Agreed and over the years there has been less investment in oil refineries because it is an expensive exercise with low return on investment. Even oil exploration has been waning since it is an capital intensive task where recent discoveries have been underwhelming.

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