Will The Fair Trading Commission Protect Consumers From EMERA And LIME?

Emera CEO Chris Huskilson

On Friday, Emera showed a profit attributable to shareholders of $241.1 million ($1.97 per share) on revenue of $2.06 billion for all of 2011. That compares to a profit of $190.7 million ($1.65 per share) on revenue of $1.6 billion in fiscal 2010.

The company credits gains earned by Caribbean subsidiary Light & Power Holdings Ltd. for helping achieve impressive profits, but there is no denying Nova Scotia Power is the big earner for Emera. According to figures, the regulated provincial power monopoly contributed more that half the profit earned by the parent in 2011.

 Herald Business

We now have the ridiculous situation enduring in harsh economic conditions where the parent company of the Barbados Light and Power (BL&P) has earned record profits of 241 million for 2010. The business theory indoctrinates that private enterprise is established for the primary reason to create value for the shareholder. Who can fault Emera for the enviable position it finds itself. However the following statement in the report that “The company credits gains earned by Caribbean subsidiary Light & Power Holdings Ltd. for helping achieve impressive profits.”  should be of of interest to Barbadians. More particular it should be of interest to the beast we refer to as the Fair Trading Commission (FTC).

On the flipside the other utility in Barbados, Cable & Wireless (LIME)which has pillaged the Caribbean market for years is currently locked in a wage dispute with the Barbados Workers Union (BWU). It is interesting to observe how the Barbados private sector has sided with LIME. If BU reads the matter correctly the wage dispute covers the period 2006 to 2009. This is significant because it straddles a period in Barbados often described as ‘times of plenty’’. Why the company would would seek to hide behind the current conditions to justify its offer is opportunistic. Yes BWU’s offer maybe considered as aggressive, yes the BWU still habours some bad memories of LIME sending home employees and relocating services to a call centre in St. Lucia. However LIME is a company which enjoyed significant profits in the 2006 to 2009 period and the workers should benefit from the financial performance.

Any sympathy which LIME would want to benefit from is offset by the reputed large salaries and bonuses paid to senior staff. Here is another company which the FTC allowed to run rampant in our market at the expense of Barbadian consumers. Of interest to Barbadians is the FTC is currently reviewing the Price Cap Plan for 2008, to run from 10 February to 9 March 2011. Barbadian consumers can only hope that the FTC begins to assert its role in the process where Barbadians consumers feel that their interest is being safeguarded by the regulator.

Next Barbadians have been told the Barbados Water Authority is being ‘readied’ to fall under the oversight of the FTC. God help consumers in Barbados when this happens.

52 thoughts on “Will The Fair Trading Commission Protect Consumers From EMERA And LIME?

  1. David,
    Your topic should have read, “Will the beast protect the comsumers …..!
    Do they care; Can they do their job without interference;Are they independent; Are they providing an avenue for the government to avoid being directly blamed?

    “It is interesting to obsereve how the Barbados Private Sector has sided with Lime!” Surprise, surprise! Understood some are calling for a 10% cut.

    It is high time the people of B’dos tell it as it is; ‘We need you as much as you need us; don’t push us too far’. We are fully aware as to the reason(s) why the Private Sector has come out at this time.

    “Barbadian have been told the B’dos Water Authority is being ‘redied’ to fall under the oversight of the FTC!”
    Again this is no surprise. The government is looking for revenue, when most of the ‘family silver’ has been sold off. What is left?

  2. When a Government is weak, the people will be taken advantage of, simple law of the financial jungle..no empathy employed.How can we expect different when the beast resides within (BARNOC) ? We were told that within a year they amassed over $100 million in profits from consumers in increased fuel charges,selling oil to the BL&P thereon to the consumer.Could we expect the others to react differently, when mother hen, takes the less that protective steps(Clico..”.he is not a leper”) to help inflict pain and hardship on those looking for protection? Fair Trading Commission ?Fair or Fare ? Take your pick. For too long now, we the consumers have found our selves getting the shitty end of the stick in too many decisions (Lime,BL&P). It has been licks without and licks within…no wonder the Canadian vultures could make such a killing in 1 year and boastfully pick our bones dry.
    What about Clico and Baico ? How come the Trinidad policyholders have begun to receive back their funds while we promises ? Simply a stronger government there to protect its people. Imagine the ex CEO attending govt sponsored functions (he who ignored,the law to stop selling policies), eating and drinking out of the tax payers monies. We have been saddled with an inept administration and are paying the price for it. Time for change..way past time for change….

  3. Profit is to be viewed in light of the underlying investment. $90 million profit on an investment of $900 million is still only a 10% return. In this example, consider that the shareholders have $900 million at risk.

  4. David

    What would make you think that the Fair Trading Commission has any interest in protecting Barbadian consumers? Can you give one example where the FTC has come out in favour of consumers? I can give an example where it was trying but they first had to remove the then chairman, retired Justice Frank King. When the Minister refused to fire Frank King, he (Ronald Toppin) was forced to resign from the Cabinet. The numbers on the Commission were then increased in order to out vote those who were not in favour of letting Cable & Wireless run rampant.

    You should also recall Sir Neville Nicholls appearing on the radio stoutly defending Barbados Light and Power. He was acting more like PRO for BL&P than as an impartial chairman. That was the straw that finally made me pronounce that the FTC is a sham designed to give the appearance of protecting consumers but actually doing the opposite.

    Both BL&P and Cable & Wireless have been ripping of the Barbadian consumer for years and I daresay that they will continue to do so. All they have to do is follow CLICO’s example – put money in both political parties and they would be allowed to do as they please.

  5. only if they prove that that these companies are price gouging. on the other hand if the public needs resolution and have enough proof and documented facts of price gouging and unfair advantage in billing by these companies a class action law suit my be an option

  6. But then again Caswell these companies also have the best accountants and lawyers that money can buy who can shuffle their numbers and cook their books presenting a different view as to how their monies are allocated.

  7. @ Freeman
    10 % in 1 year ? Why that is super by any expectations….Profits were said by the CEO to have increased by 26 % moving Emera’s share price from $0.21 in 2010 to $0.38 by Dec 2011….you have accountants on this blog sir…CEO reported.. a fantastic years takings, thanks to Caribbean investment……

  8. Caswell I could not have agreed with you more…. (PUS commission).Pay Us and we Sell them out Commission.

    @ ac
    if you followed the whole shin dingo….we had accountants and lawyers also on the other side who gallantly fought the flawed re-capitalisation of old assets issue…but is was final decision that counted…”we have’nt had a a rate increase in years”……followed by a soon after sale to Em.. As Caswell aptly stated,he who pays the piper plays the tune syndrome….sold to the highest bidder…behind the CLOAK of fair…

  9. @Caswell

    BU has been calling on former minister Toppin to admit publicly why he resigned and he has refused. Suppose he did the honourable thing to resign which does not excuse the reason in any case.

  10. I hope the BU family continue to read the CANADIAN reports from Emera.

    They have to boast of the massive profits to get more Canadian Investors to buy their stock.

    Meanwhile the Barbadoa BL&P “front men” will have to present a different picture to the Bajans.

    Cable & wireless has to do the same in the UK.

    These Canadians and Brits love Bajans.Bajans are such valuable consumers.

  11. @Hantsie

    Is it not instructive the topic that garner interest on BU and Barbados in general? A blog like this one which attacks the core of how we live our lives is of fleeting interest.

  12. @David,

    While we must have political battles to keep democracy alive it is important that we do not allow ourselves to be abused by smooth talking “Investors.”

    As you correctly stated. Barbados big businesses old and new are virtual monopolies.

    Bajans have been good to the utility companies for the last 50 years. They all have been profitable continuously.

    In these difficult times surely they could show some compassion to the people who have made them profitable.

  13. @Hants

    Here is some news for you. The many Contractors which LIME currently outsource to will see their contracts not being renewed as at March 31, 2012. One can only speculate how LIME plans to fill the void.

    Here is a company which has become fat of the labour of this region and during this time has decided to piss in our faces.

  14. The FTC review agreed a % level of profit that BL&P is allowed to make so while electricity is a high cost to consumers, it’s a bit late now to complain about being price gouged. The time to do that was when they had the hearing.
    My complaint with BL&P is that with a guaranteed return on investment and the ability to pass through the cost of fuel to us consumers, BL&P can make decisions on the installation of plant etc., without any thought about the cost of fuel. That does not seem to be to be a healthy situation. While I understand the rationale behind the fuel pass-through (BL&P can’t forecast world fuel prices or be liable for them) it seems to me that at the next FTC review we need to find a way of getting BL&P to be at least partly responsible for fuel costs.
    Surely there must be a model somewhere else in the world where a Government and a utility company has tackled this sucessfully before?

  15. St George’s Dragon | February 16, 2012 at 8:10 PM |

    I wish that those F_ers that convinced the DLP led NIS to sell those shares on grounds that it was an attractive deal ( I can remember it like now) be locked to F up for treason.Those very said rats received promotions to LPH as rewards for their treachery and no doubt fat health cheques.No better still, they should be asked to leave the country…go to canada

  16. St George’s Dragon wrote “it’s a bit late now to complain about being price gouged.”

    It is never too late to complain about an wrong doing.

    My comments were made because I have been reading everything I can find about Emera and they are the ones boasting about their profits in Barbados.

    The only people who can be happy with Emera doubling profits are the Investors in Canada.

  17. old onion bags wrote “they should be asked to leave the country…go to canada”

    Only if you are sending them to Iqaluit or Yellowknife.

  18. why do we hypocrtically continue to skirt around the crucial issue of the fuel surcharge on gasoline which is allowing the government run BNOc to make excessive profits at the expense of the taxpayers in this time of hardship. i had almost beun to believe the empty slogan’we are more than an economy, we are a society’. Why continue to knock EMERa. aren’t all companies in the business of making making money to satisfy the interests of their shareholders. give me a break,ye people.

  19. Emera bought 38% of L&P Holdings in May 2010. Emera’s 2010 earnings includes 38% of LPH’s earnings between May 2010 and Dec 2010.

    Early in 2011 Emera increased its ownership in LPH to 80%. Therefore Emera’s 2011 earnings includes 80% of LPH’s earnings for about 11 months of 2011.

    I would not be surprised if it turns out that BL&P made less in 2011 than it did in 2010; but Emera’s share might be higher since it will report 12 months in 2011 compared to 11 months in 2010.

  20. Correction to my previous post – ignore this comment:

    “but Emera’s share might be higher since it will report 12 months in 2011 compared to 11 months in 2010”.

    • Why is EMERA would credit the Caribbean operations for significantly contributing to its performance? Are they saying that in other countries where they invest the ROI is a lower %.

  21. David, all they are saying is that their profit increased as a result of having increased their holdings in the Caribbean. I didn’t see any comment about the ROI.

  22. “Why continue to knock EMERa. aren’t all companies in the business of making making money to satisfy the interests of their shareholders. give me a break,ye people.”

    Why if the DLP Govt WERE SO DAFF to offer our best performing shares up on a platter….even the Russian Petronia CirCus ..would run quick and buy them.
    But I remember a voice crying in the wilderness saying NO NO No (Blp-ites) and I also remember another saying, the company assets are old, Emera can provide capabilities by bringing skill and much needed capital to upgrade (insider traitors)..and even others…..we need the monies and we won’t get that in 25 yrs(Jasper & Co.)……

    Nobody knocking Emera…….we need to be dealing with traitors and misleaders, and those who think they know from a few years.. working on Wall St.

  23. What shows that there was a definite PLAN put in motion to inflict pain and hardship and sell the Barbadian populace short of its FAMILY SILVER…was the TIMING….firstly going to the FTC and getting a RATE INCREASE…..soon followed by the sale to EMERA.
    No one in their right thinking could help but see a plan by insiders ..no matter what they say…. ah mean common sense should have told those NIS Directors that something looked fishy here.>>>” GET a rate increase first, then send the poor b_gers down a hell hole”. We will reward you well..”

  24. I think on the subject of Emera and BL&P I have certainly stated the case…if I remember rightly in my very first “rant” about this, many questioned my electrical use, I think one person even called me a fraud in one of the blogs…another said I was privileged and and and….well one thing I know is that I have been vindicated. These people are nothing but thieves in the night….and if Barbados thinks that by carrying on on blogs is going to do the trick and help the situation, the answer is No!

    We put out a petition on an important issue that affects the health of not only us but our children…and will affect theirs too…to ban Monsanto and its Round Up and all its other products like GMO foods from Barbados so that we can start cleaning up our island…one of the groupsin which I posted this petition (not once but several times) has 5,000 members…others 500…others maybe 2,000 on Facebook….I have e-mailed, daily posted the petition and the reasons why…and to date have just over 100 people signed (a lot from abroad). What does that tell me?? According to one person who lives abroad and has beaten cancer four times, the last time having her breasts lopped off: “what? only over 100 people signed up, by now you should have thousands”. It tells me the character of our people. Complain and do nothing.

    I wonder if a petition re BL&P and Emera will not have a similar reaction. Or one about SLIME.

    Why? Because when you put a petition out, you have to put your name on it…your real name and address and e-mail….and Bajans doan like dat. Just look at these blogs and see how many put their real names to their concerns and real thoughts!!!!

    We are a sad lot. Because we all know what can be done to stop all these monopolies and allowing our rising costs of food and health bills, our soil, our foods, our water, our reefs, our people being compromised over and over again…yes! we know what can be done but do we do it?? Nope. We talk instead.

    Put your mouth where you money is….start and sign every petition you can to stop the destruction of our island because the poor are getting poorer, the rich are drinking more champagne than evah, and Barbados is being compromised in every which way. It is all up to us to take action.

    We have to start with huge petitions and if that doan work, take to the streets and show ’em whose boss….hey! what did I just say??? Action?? Take to the where??? You mean walk??? In a huge group where people can see me face demonstrating? Look…. me go and lie dong in me bed as long as I have one, and watch Days Of Our Lives until dem cut off me lights….leh me lick mout on the phone until dem tell me I got to pay out of me ears for it….and leh me eat sardines until even dat reaches astronomical prices…hopefully I will be dead and can be buried….wait? did I say buried….you know how much it costs to do dat when even undertakers digging out we eye to put a man in a coffin or to burn he up? I guess it is a pauper’s cemetery for me in a cardboard box….if dat ent cost a pong and crong by then…….

  25. @Rosemary

    Don’t despair you are critiquing a DNA issue with how Bajans do things. It has its strengths and weaknesses. Bajans will do what we have to do,,,eventually. Five years ago some looked at blogs, fB and social media as a joke, can’t say the same today.

  26. I am not despairing David….I am resigned to a fact. We act when in it is too late. And yes! I know that there are many in government and in high positions that read all that is being said, and maybe they are paying attention….I still believe they would show real concern (a) if those who write on these blogs would post their names to their beliefs, concerns and thoughts instead of wanting to remain anonymous…this gives the ones who can make a difference the realization that hello! “if dem cyant say who dem are – dem running scared and we still on top – a set of jokers hiding in de RoundUp bush who gine dead soon anyhow” and (b) when they read some of the insulting, foolish comments instead of sticking to the point in question, then those who can make a difference really, really know for a fact they have the upper hand….and (b) is more important and (a) by the way.

    If there is one person I commend for all the work put in to bring issues to the fore…it is you. BU is supportive of people’s thoughts and fears re their island. BU is always confident that at some point there will be answers and perhaps you are right. It is how long we have to wait for action is what I am concerned about because every day, every hour, every minute and every second counts right now if Barbados is to clean up its act and be the island we can all be proud of, and love with impunity.

    We, the people, should have the confidence to know that we as a united force can make or break a situation by acting fast – not furious – just fast. I remember once when I was living in Canada the price of bacon went up by 1 cent. Their Consumer Affairs people looked into it and within a week their magazine (which went out and was distributed all over the particular province in question – this one being Ontario) was under my door, and it said that after examination of everything their conclusion was that there was no real reason for the price of this commodity to go up except for higher profits, so they asked the people to unite and not to buy bacon. They did. Within one week the price went back down.

    We are not united enough to do anything together, to put up a fight together, and that is the real reason that Cable & Wireless and now Emera and all businesses that are taking the people of this country to the cleaners as easy as 1,2, 3 will continue to get whatever they want – blood out of stone! Our consumer affairs people should be ashamed. And so should we the people. ‘Nuff said.

  27. By Consumer Affairs I really meant the Fair Trading Commission…do we even have a Consumer’s Affairs group? ‘Cause Fair Trading might sound like they should be Consumer Affairs but the word ‘trading’ is dubious.

  28. @ Rosymarie
    a) if those who write on these blogs would post their names to their beliefs, concerns and thoughts instead of wanting to remain anonymous

    Look I don’t know about you, but by remaining anonymous allow us to speak our minds…a thing we the little people are glad to given a chance to do so FREELY…unlike you…who don’t give damm whether DLP 0r BLP. You see we the little people fear victimization and getting locked up …..unlike you who don’t need to tell the BIG Buffon that he doing foolishness..and lose we little pick….but ya see YOU…I dun know some of these things duz prick D ole sole seeing these little people …..having such mouth freedom,ignoring my food petition and all discussing all other matters more important to them than my cat food and the likes.. But ya know what Rosie we glad you live hear and can enjoy we sunshine and reflect pun D masses….but on some issues, just hush.

  29. No Blue boy
    That is probably is just a repositioning of capital strategic move.
    The $$$ invested in the Caribbean reaping such sweet fruits that the capital that was lying idle paying employees in Nova Scotia probably doing nothing jobs, could be better employ over here to make a MUCH BIGGER killing in the Caribbean.Watch for a move !
    Wind turbines or something….

  30. And the layoffs came the same day Nova Scotia Power announced a quarterly dividend of 36 cents per share.

    Canadian Investors love dividends.

  31. Sargeant we in trouble up here too.
    I might have to retire early and guh back to Babadus.

    Doom and gloom.
    That’s the outlook for Ontario, according to a sweeping review of public services urging higher hydro bills, larger school classes, a streamlined health-care system that could lead to fewer hospitals, more expensive tuition and increased user fees.

  32. LIME in Barbados is becoming a dreaded word. Imagine that the start of the 2012 sugar harvest has been rescheduled because the sugar factories have no LIME ,slack lime. Very slack indeed. And some one said a while ago on another thread that we do not need anyone from outside to helps us in agriculture? And old Bajan saying, “Head ain’t brains”. Rawle Eastmond’s recent statement in parliament was spot on.

  33. LOL @ Colonel

    “…Someone said we don’t need anyone from outside to help us in Agriculture…”

    …you better check and see who running um yuh…..

  34. Speaking of Lime…just read Barbados Today..looks like a STRIKE is pending as Lime says they are not backing down. Should this be, this place go be in according to ac “Cat piss and Pepper”.Someone better deal with this one “with Dispatch”

  35. @old onion bags…..sad enough…but I hear you…and I done. I have a book to write. And that is all I should be interested in and that is all I am going to be interested in from now on. Blinkers are on and I shall be a true daughter of the soil and just move right along with the flow…..thanks for reminding me what happens to those who want to make a difference because they love their island Barbados. You have silenced me and now perhaps I can wake up in the morning knowing that I am safe. Knowing that I shall not lose my little place in the sun. Bless.

    • All BLPC fuel costs are passed to customers through the fuel surcharge. Fair Trading Commission,
      Barbados has approved the calculation of the fuel surcharge, which is adjusted on a monthly basis.
      BLPC has the ability to carryover an under-recovery to later months to smooth the fuel surcharge for

      EMERA was sure to place the following statement in its financials for 20111.


  36. @ Rosie LUV
    But ya know what Rosie we glad you live hear and can enjoy we sunshine and reflect pun D masses….but on some issues, just hush.

    Retort>>You have silenced me and now perhaps I can wake up in the morning knowing that I am safe.

    Your business if yo so soft backed and can’t take a lil good heart ed banter…you think onions did hard on you…chk wid bajanfalife or ac….girl you get a kiss compared wid what D onions duz spew …

  37. One of the better stories which illustrate corporate greed is Apple. Here is a company whose market capitalization is suppose to be greater than Google and Microsoft but pays the Chinese workers who manufacture the iPad peanuts. It is estimated Apple could triple the pay of Chinese workers and still rake in 40 billion profit in a year. Where is our sense of what is right?

  38. The true definition of Capitalism David is to exploit ruthlessly and by any means necessary.Less subliminal also are the banks FCIB Barclays and the like who exploit us for tremendous profits yearly right under our noses in the Caribbean reaping super profit un- occasioned in other domains (LIME). Our Govts seem hand tied as they glad for the taxes and duties on these EXPLOITED FUNDS…say nothing for fear of the repercussions…so Chinese workers are not the only ones….

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