Call to BARP’s Membership

The blogmaster continues to follow the story regarding a call to BARP’s membership to attend the AGM- the rule requires 200 members in good financial standing to achieve a quorum. 

It begs the question why the Barbados Association of Retired Persons with close to thirty thousand members representing a cross section of the local population has been unable to raise a quorum. One far fetched reason is that the meeting being convened via ZOOM, far fetched because BARP has a significant 50s professional membership. BARP has rescheduled the meeting for December 06, 2021 via ZOOM in difference to the prevailing COVID 19 condition.

A key agenda item to be discussed at BARP’s AGM is to approve a team to intervene in the upcoming Barbados Light & Power (BL&P) rate review. The BARP president has raised public concern regarding the impact an increase in the electricity rate will have on its membership. The inability of BARP to raise a quorum to be an intervenor at the rate review goes to the root of our failing as a people to actively participate in civic engagement activities.

The blogmaster looks forward to BARP being able to host a successful AGM on December 06, 2021.

BARP considers protest against proposed BL&P rate hike

The Barbados Association of Retired Persons (BARP) is concerned that the hike in electricity rates proposed by the Barbados Light & Power Company, (BL&P) will be burdensome and unbearable for its members, and plans to intervene on their behalf.
BL&P has applied for a substantial increase in its rates and tariffs that would see the domestic rates per kwh increase between 33.3 per cent and 42.9 per cent, and the cost for new service (below 200 amps) jumping from $50 to as much as $130.
BARP is hoping to assemble a highpowered team of individuals of various skills to protest the steep increase.
“Since all rates are subject to Value Added Tax (VAT), such a steep increase will be even more severe for our members. We must make our voice heard, not only for our members but for all ratepayers,” said BARP president Marilyn Rice-Bowen.
She confirmed that the proposed intervention will be discussed at BARP’s annual general meeting which will be held next Monday via Zoom.In its 1,300-page application to the Fair Trading Commission (FTC), the BL&P said that following adjustments for rate-making purposes, its profits fell from $53.4 million in 2019 to $28.7 million in 2020.
The BL&P had also stated that its application for a rate hike was only its second in 40 years, and acknowledged the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the recent ashfall and Hurricane Elsa, had on ratepayers. (BT)

Source: Barbados Today


Power PROBE @BL&P a Must!

The blogmaster inquired from Chris Halsall how would a distributed power generation model affect BL&P’s profit and loss in the aftermath of last week’s catastrophe –Barbados Gone Dark.

He responded as follows:

ROK (RIP) and I relied on Douglas Skeete during the rate hearings for the financial dimensions, but my understanding is moving to a distributed generation model would have no impact on the BL&P revenue model. No changes to the equations, simply the variables.

BL&P is allowed to earn up to 10.48% based on the Rate Base. The Rate Base is the amount of capital invested in “plant” that is directly responsible for power Generation, Transmission and Distribution. As this is amortized over time, what this actually means BL&P is allowed to make less profit unless they reinvest in the plant.

BL&P will always be needed by Barbados to invest in, maintain and manage the T&D. It’s a “natural monopoly” (and unbelievably complex) — you don’t want multiple different providers each erecting their own poles and then stringing cables. BL&P will also always be responsible for a large percentage of the generation.

It is important to note that this is not going to happen overnight. And there are legitimate concerns by BL&P — it might have to carefully manage an environment where they don’t control all of the generation capacity that the country might need at any given time, but would still be responsible for getting the electrons from where they’re being generated to where they’re needed.

And, the transmission network might require upgrading, if, for example, large generation capability is planned to come online somewhere where appropriate capacity doesn’t already exist. Who would pay for that, the BL&P (and, thus, the power consumer), or the private generation provider?

This is a non-trivial problem space, with many, many dimensions.

The blogmaster will add to Halsall’s view on the obligation of BL&P given the permission by the regulator to earn  a 10.48% Rate of Return on Rate Base.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley indicated in one of her take charge interviews last week that the time  will come to hold actors in last week’s fiasco responsible – the priority now is to stabilize the power supply to the country. Sorry Prime Minister, the blogmaster does not agree, we can do both at the same time especially if we are confronted by negligence, greed and incompetence.

There is one observation those who followed the press briefings must be concerned about –  Managing Director of BL&P Roger Blackman boldly stated one of the reasons for not replacing old problematic diesel equipment was heavily influenced by government’s decision at the time to allow Cahill Barbados to operate a plasma gasification plan in Barbados.

The other issue that triggered concern was the feedback from BL&P that unwanted contaminants were discovered in the fuel supplied by Barbados National Oil Company Ltd (BNOCL). The obvious question is what responsibility does BL&P have to ensure the fuel supplied by BNOCL meets the specifications to ensure the old diesel engines do not have a bad reaction.

The local media should join Barbados Underground to question the quality of BL&P’s decision which has led to the current perilous state of affairs. Should citizens take comfort in the fact the regulator – Fair Trading Commission – has launched a probe? For years the BU family has raised concerns about energy generation in Barbados. It reached a peek during the Cahill saga. How does being reactive get us anywhere?

The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – Anatomy of an Election Campaign II

In the first part of this essay last week, I commented on the positive and negative consequences of the Prime Minister advising the Governor General to issue the writ for a general election to take place on May 24; the likely record number of parties and individuals contesting the elections; the prominent role that the offence of bribery was playing in early popular discourse and the relatively minor part that more substantive issues were occupying in the public domain.

With the launch of the campaigns of the major parties last weekend and the excitement of Nomination Day last Monday, the battle has now been well and truly joined.

What has been noteworthy about the approach of the so-called duopoly is their identical treatment of the launch of the campaign and the introduction of their respective candidates being two distinct events; a strategy available to the better-funded campaigns only, I presume. None of the others has followed a similar course, contenting themselves with traditional spot meetings and social media campaigns.

Having attended none of these four main events thus far, my commentary is based mainly on hearsay and the other secondary sources of media reports. The similarity in strategy between the older parties appears to have ended in the staging of dual meetings however, since the opening gambits appear to be diametrically opposed. For the Democratic Labour Party [DLP], the engagement strategy appears to be the one pursued so successfully by the all-conquering West Indies cricket team of the 80’s and 90’s, -that is, if we can prick the bubble of mystique that surrounds the leader of our opponent, then the battle is already more than half-won. It is a strategy better known in the Barbadian vernacular as indicating the importance of the brain (head) to physical soundness –“When de head gone, the whole body gone…”

While it is, of course, far too early to gauge the effectiveness of this approach, it is one clearly fraught with some degree of risk since the leader of the Barbados Labour Party [BLP] is female and it is not irrational to assume that its supporters might readily conflate what is intended to be a purely partisan political barracking with an attack on the female gender in general… even though a reasoning electorate should be careful to distinguish between the two by virtue of the content. In other words, a broadside against the political acumen and leadership ability of an individual -whether male, female, blackish, whitish, affluent or “scrunting”-, ought not to be melded into an assault on all those identically situated merely by virtue of the identified characteristic.

Nonetheless, to found an election strategy on a plinth that requires the appreciation of such a comparatively fine distinction by an impassioned local electorate appears in hindsight to be unarguably risky. The call is not mine to make, however.

For its part, the BLP appears to have adopted an equally risky strategy for its platform. While it is understandable that the promise of a better economic future for the citizenry would be an attractive sop for a jurisdiction and an electorate in deep economic “doo-doo”, the more cynical voter might be mistrustful and wary of promises of a soonest return to a former prosperity that would entail a revival of formerly available civic entitlements, an increase in a named social security benefit and the concomitant reduction of a much despised imposition.

In light of the actuality that an electioneering promise is not otherwise enforceable except as a matter of propriety, a party should be diligent to persuade an discerning electorate of its bona fides by reasoned argument and not merely by platitudes that require them to trust the word of the promising or representing entity.

I readily accede to any argument that I am not a politician, and it may be too that I am unfamiliar with how a local electorate reasons, if it does so at all. If I had my druthers, though, I would not have advised either of the strategic approaches adopted by the major parties so far as being too electorally risky.

As for the other combatants, I remain hopeful that a creditable platform will emerge from among them, one that is based on practicable policy as well as one that respects the guaranteed fundamental rights of citizens.

Just recently, I received a flier from one “third” party’s candidate in my constituency and I am forced to wonder whether a competent individual was allowed to vet the material therein by before publication. One paragraph speaks to “Charged Persons” and boldly indicates that “only the charges and court cases of those convicted will be published”. And, as if this threat to press freedom were not sufficiently chilling, it is further stated that publishing any such details of innocent and not-convicted persons will attract “defamation fines”. The material proposes to quantify these penalties on the loss of reputation and loss of earnings (suffered by the innocent party, I presume) owed to the publication.

This is surreal. While our neighbours are striving to abolish the offence of criminal defamation, we are attempting to apply it to a wholly inapplicable circumstance -one where there is no defamation- and further to impose monetary penalties therefor where there can be no likelihood of loss of reputation caused by the publication. Lord, put a hand!

The Caswell Franklyn Column – Buying Votes with Public Service Appointments

On the day dedicated to workers (May Day) news broke that 660 temporary workers have been appointed to the Public Service, within the past six months, with more than 300 additional appointments expected shortly.

Under normal circumstances, as a trade unionist representing public workers, I would be ecstatic on receipt of that news. But these are not normal circumstances and even though I am happy for the recipients, it is tinged with a bit of anger because of the way many of these workers have been treated over the years leading up to these appointments. As far as I am aware, some of these new appointees were employed as temporary officers before this administration took office in 2008.

From where I stand, this mad rush by the authorities to make these appointments seems to be a crass attempt to curry favour with public workers ahead of the general elections, and also to cement their supporters in secure public service jobs. Somehow, the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) believes that these appointments would translate into votes from grateful workers and their families. While I fully expect that their supporters would blindly support the DLP; I don’t believe that members of the ruling party could be so delusional to expect that uncommitted workers, who in many cases endured upward of ten years as temporary officers, to vote for them now.

By making these appointments and promising more, the DLP should not think that it is doing public workers any favours. Delaying these appointments for years meant that these workers could not get credit, to move on with their lives, because of their temporary status. Also, temporary officers pay two percent more in contributions than appointed officers to National Insurance. In effect, a temporary officer who earns $2,500 per month would pay an additional fifty dollars per month. (That could still have bought two chickens). Over ten years, by not appointing that worker as required by law, Government would have taken an additional $6,000 from his pay packet, while denying him any salary increases over that period.

To make matters worse, even if the appointments were backdated to comply with the law, and they were not, National Insurance would only refund that worker a mere $1,200.

It troubles me immensely to think that politicians would expect to be rewarded for allowing these appointments at this time. It bears repetition, they are not doing workers any favours. Section 13.(11) of the Public Service Act requires the authorities to fill permanent post within 12 months. It states:

No established office in the Public Service shall be allowed to remain vacant for a period of more than one year except

(a) permission to allow the vacancy is granted by the Governor-General on the advice of the Service Commission; or

(b) the office has been frozen by the Minister.

Despite this provision, the authorities continued to allow temporary officers to act in vacant established offices for ten or more years in some cases.

It is apt to point out, to those who think that appointing public officers en masse would redound to the benefit of the ruling party, that just prior to the 2008 elections, the Arthur administration passed legislation to ensure the automatic appointment of over 3,000 temporary officers. They lost.

There is another sinister aspect to these appointments, many of which appear to be done along partisan lines. Long-serving, competent and deserving officers are being overlooked for appointment or promotion is preference for person who identify as supporters of the DLP. In the event of a change of government, the DLP would have its supporters/minions in key areas either to disrupt or spy on any new administration.

DLP and BLP Challenged to National Debate

Submitted by Neil Holder, leader of the BIM

The Barbados Integrity Movement (BIM) has issued a challenge to the leaders of the two established political parties Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and Opposition leader Mia Mottley to a national debate.

Mottley’s Address to the BLP or What is left of it

Parody submitted by Douglas

Jerome Walcott BLP candidate

Jerome Walcott BLP candidate

Good evening, Members of parliament, former members of Cabinet, members, friends of mine, friends of Arthur, friends of the Men’s Club, Diplomats, media, family and Maria Agard.

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Demand for Renewable Energy Solutions Threaten EMERA

Submitted to the Innovation Required by Barbadians to Make the Quantum Leap to Survive the Future by The Watcher

Barbados Light & Power wind farm project at Lambert's Plantation abandoned.

Barbados Light & Power wind farm project at Lambert’s Plantation abandoned.

While prices are still somewhat out of the reach of the ordinary Barbadian, there are reportedly in excess of 7000 such installations in private homes now in existence here on the island. That figure scares the living daylights out of the Canadian swine who own BL&P. Its interesting to note that Canadian interest own over 35% of the Barbados economic engine including almost all of our local banks, and they do some of the most vile things here to people. Things they couldn’t dream of doing in Canada.

Back to the deployment of these PV systems. If the current growth keeps pace for the next 5 years, Barbados could see almost 65% of its energy generated by an alternative to fossil fuels. That will translate into a humongous savings in the importation of oil and reduce significantly our foreign exchange pay outs from the country. Problem there is, if PV starts to takes root in that manner, some political animal wont get a kick back and that to them is scary. That said, Barbados was involved in the harnessing of Solar Energy for years. Albeit to heat water. If this industry was seen as viable, had a real champion to drive it, and got some seed finding, we may have been producing solar cells and panels by now.

However late this may or may not be now, we need to start legislating that some percentage of the energy produced and consumed here, is “green”. That means that BL&P had to become compliant with that proclamation, or GO!

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BLP and DLP Political ‘Germfare’

Submitted by William Skinner

 “Mia Motley is being politically slaughtered by Owen Arthur because he is teaching her the age old truth”

“Mia Motley is being politically slaughtered by Owen Arthur because he is teaching her the age old truth”

As we continue to grapple with the floundering of the Democratic Labour Party and the blundering of the Barbados Labour Party, the collision of hypocrisy with reality stares us in the face. The inescapable truths are now haunting the apologists and desperate assortment of political henchmen and women, who never put Barbados before George or Roebuck Streets.

Mia Motley is being politically slaughtered by Owen Arthur because he is teaching her the age old truth: you cannot run with the hare and hunt with the hound. Arthur is bitter because he is confronting the harsh reality that his so-called economic management has in reality left the country no better off than he found it. He did not transform the society; he merely managed it competently and that is no great legacy to leave. Transformation is what both Grantley Adams and Errol Barrow achieved. Arthur will never and can never be seriously elevated to such heights. To put it mildly: Arthur became a ruthless self centered politician and conned the unsuspecting into believing that there was something called inclusion when in fact we all know it was nothing more than seduction and the opportunistic machinations of a frustrated group of young DLP politicians , who just did not want David Thompson to become Prime Minister of Barbados. He also easily seduced most of the rising talent that had emerged from within the ranks of the National Democratic Party.

Having squandered the chance to reclaim the government in 2013, Arthur on the night of the election made it known that he honestly believed that his chance for a second bite at the pie of power was sabotaged from within the ranks of his own party.

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A Ring a Ring o’ Roses: BLP DLP Same Party

Mia Mottley, Opposition Leader

Mia Mottley, Opposition Leader

Less than one year after the last general election and the sense in the BU household is that the country continues to be gripped in election mode. This is despite the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) having won the general election albeit by a narrow margin of two seats. The inability of the Stuart led government to bring Barbadians together and get on with improving the lot of the country has been a bane to many. To some the narrow result confirmed the disgust which the electorate has with the two main political parties.

Here is the flipside. BU is not convinced by  the alternative proposals which were championed by the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) during the last general election campaign. There was the privatization argument which backfired, however, the thrust of the BLP’s offering is centred on maintaining a service economy read tourism and international business. Not to forget the promise of a more aggressive offshore oil exploration program. The BLP faithful appear not to accept that the world has changed post-2008. Barbados ‘leveraged’ a global economic boom where there was easy money to be borrowed from capital markets. A significant percentage of the billions left in foreign reserves by the BLP represented borrowings which will have to be repaid. The adage that one has to earn your way in the world means that a borrowing strategy was not sustainable.

The BU gang has been harping for years that the Barbados downward spiral can be tracked to a lack of leadership. In case the BLP hacks have forgotten, the economic indicators started to flag during Owen Arthur’s third term. There is evidence that Arthur and the BLP struggled with the economic conditions which had become harsher.

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EMERA's Barbados Light & Power Company To Apply for a Hike in Rate Soon

EMERA Caribbean President Sarah MacDonald

EMERA Caribbean President Sarah MacDonald

EMERA Caribbean President Sarah MacDonald has signalled that the company will be applying to the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) for a rate increase in the near future. The Canadian owner of Barbados’ sole electricity generation and distribution company intends to build a 60 megawatt power generation plant.  We have been told that the current plant is old and inefficient. The bad news is that consumers are likely see their base rate move up BUT with anticipated improvement in operating efficiency the fuel adjustment should move down giving users a net benefit.

And in related news.

The FTC has completed its review of the best method the Barbados Light & Power must calculate the Fuel Adjustment Clause (FAC). The recommendation from the consultant and accepted by the FTC is that the BL&P will have to use its historical cost of fuel and NOT projected cost when administering the FCA.

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Bunker C and BL&P Revisited

Stephen Worme, Barbados Light & Pwer Co Ltd

Stephen Worme, Barbados Light & Power Co Ltd

Some have always admired the candour of Stephen Worme of Barbados Light and Power (BL&P). He was recently asked by a BU family member what was the average price they (BL&P) had paid per ton for Bunker C in the 2003 compared to 2013. This is a follow up to an earlier blog –

2003 – $435 per ton.
2013 – $1,439 per ton.

Were these prices regulated by Government or have been subsidised in any way at any time? We cannot confirm at this time?

Deliverance Leadership Pragmatism: (DLP or BLP) A New Direction

Submitted by Yardbroom

Barbadians urged to vote INTEGRITY

Barbadians urged to vote INTEGRITY

Deliverance from Whom?

Leadership to Where?

Pragmatic in what we can reasonably afford.

All underpinned by “INTEGRITY” for without that, we are nothing.

In a matter of days Barbados’ electorate will go to the Polls and elect a Government for the next five years.  The time for crunching figures is over.  The pollsters have trotted out their numbers, the columnists showing bias have pontificated on the rightness of their selections and those in the shadows with much to gain, have invested their dollars and largesse to be distributed, no doubt expecting a large return on their investment.  The manifestos are near ready but they too rely on that word INTEGRITY for without it, they will be as useful as a loser betting tickets discarded at the Garrison Savannah.

I asked deliverance, from whom?  Deliverance from those in the shadows, whose faces are never seen but their dollars are.  They do not mount platforms and tell ribald jokes, and their parentage, domestic arrangements and physiognomy are never questioned, but like a fox at a Leghorn fowl shin-dig, they cannot be ignored.

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EMERA WATCH: Pay Up Or Power Down

Photo Credit: Miles Howe

Nova Scotia Power tacks seemingly arbitrary “security deposit” charge to customers’ billsWatch your meter closely, or you might be in for a surprise by Miles Howe

Having trouble paying your power bill? Be careful: don’t fall too far behind on the wrong day, or you might just find a pricey surprise in the mail. Nova Scotia Power (NSPI), the Emera-owned monopoly power provider to almost all of Nova Scotia’s 921,000 citizens, has at its discretion the ability to add a lump sum equal to up to three months’ service, known as a “security deposit”, to its customers’ power bills.

The decision to add a “security deposit” to a ratepayer’s bill is measured on a vague series of guidelines, which no one at NSPI appears able to explain fully. What is clear, however, is that a customer with errant bill payments has a good chance of being slapped with an added charge worth up to three months of average power consumption.

Receiving these startling bills in the mail has roused some Nova Scotians to take action against NSPI, with mixed results. The following two individuals received added “security deposit” charges on their power bills, and chose to fight back. The reaction of the power provider differed greatly between the two cases.

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I Have Had It With The Barbados Light & Power Company

Extracted from the Facebook Page of Rosemary Parkinson. This blog was forwarded to Miles Howe, a Canadian journalist at the Halifax Media Group doing some good work to keep EMERA ‘honest’.

New Managing Director, Mark King

Many of you might remember the tirade I did on BARBADOS *NOT REALLY ANYMORE* LIGHT & POWER a few months ago. And how far dat little diatribe went. From Facebook to Barbados Underground to Brass Tacks et al. Remember you sent your CEO to me? Remember I posted what I would still consider to be answers that only Dale Carnegie would have had the balls to write about in his now so very famous book “How to win friends and influence (really meaning fool) people”? Well…after all dat episode our billl went back down to high but hello I understand the cost of living an’ all de ress of it and it still did not make me happy but it was manageable. NOW THIS MONTH WE BACK UP TO WHERE I BELLOWED AND I GINE BELLOW EVEN LOUDER NOW ‘CAUSE NOW I KNOW YOU RIPPING OFF CERTAIN PEOPLE WITHOUT A DOUBT!!!!

This last month’s bill is so raas high I gine have myself a heart attack together with my landlady nexx door….we done both sick already with chess cold. And her mother done spend a week almost in horspital so she was saving electricals at home. But dis’ month’s bill 20th November to 21st. December gone from the usual $600/700 a month now back up to $1200!!!!

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Chief Marketing Officer Stephen Worme, Barbadians Want To Examine The Analysis On Solar Energy

Stephen Worme, Chief Marketing Officer, BL&P

As part of a pilot programme, BL&P has introduced a Renewable Energy Rider “to permit small customer-owned wind and solar photovoltaic systems to connect to the grid” to generate electricity for their own use and sell surplus back to BL&P. Provision was made for up to 200 connections but the last public report I saw suggested that less than 10 consumers had signed up.
Andrew Brathwaite

Chief Marketing Officer Stephen Worme of the Barbados Light and Power Ltd (BL&P) is quoted in the press suggesting that “international oil prices are predicted to rise and it would be unrealistic to expect the Barbados Light & Power Company not to pass on the increase to electricity users or to expect Government to subsidize it for “any extended period of time”  BU’s best research contradicts Worme’s forecast however we  concede that there is a known volatility associated with oil prices.

A couple years ago when the price of oil skyrocketed to USD140.00 plus per barrel it sparked a robust national conversation about the mitigating steps which should be taken.Two years later we are still talking with no semblance of a Renewable Energy Program to be mobilized any time soon.

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