Cooperative Coalition Shocked at FTC Ruling

The following is a Press Release from the Coalition of Co-operatives Coalition of Co-operatives and Concerned Citizens in relation to the recent FTC ruling – Blogmaster

Coalition of Concerned Co-operatives and Citizens

17 September 2022

The Coalition of Concerned Cooperatives is shocked at the decision by the Fair Trading Commission to grant an interim rate increase to the Barbados Light & Power Company three days before the substantive two-week Rate Hearing is due to commence.

In addition to the unfortunate message that this decision sends to the general public, and to intervenors in the substantive Hearings, about the Commission’s seeming predisposition towards the Company’s application, we are also particularly displeased that the Commission has dismissed, without comment, the position raised by the Coalition in writing to the Fair Trading Commission, that the Laws of Barbados – via the Utilities Regulations Act Chapter 282, in Section 15 (3) specifically directs that:

(3) The Commission shall not grant a request for a review by the same service provider
more than once in any year.

In our opinion, this clear stipulation in the Law restricts the BLPC from submitting an additional Interim rate application within the same year, after having submitted their substantive application. Surely, the acceptance of the BLPC ‘interim rate review’ therefore breaches the Act.

We continue to await a suitable explanation from the Commission as to how they could have ignored this clear stipulation in our Law.

We are furthermore concerned that, whereas the Act makes no provision for any special category of Rate Hearing such as an ‘Interim Rate Increase’, the Commission in its ruling, went to long, rambling, lengths, to accommodate this request from the Company, citing overseas precedents that would have been based on completely different laws.

At the same time, the Commission has completely ignored and dismissed our position which is a direct and unambiguous extract from the Laws of Barbados that apply directly to these Rate Hearings.

Additionally, the decision to arbitrarily award 50% of BLPC’s request, appears to be based solely on subjective information provided by the Company. It clearly lacks the kind of scrutiny that is mandated by the Act, and which will apply in the substantive Rate Hearing scheduled to commence on Wednesday.

The records show that whereas BLPC paid less than $10 million per year in dividends to shareholders before the last rate increase, this increased to nearly $50 Million annually since Emera took control of the company. As a result, some $538 Million have been extracted from BLPC since the last rate hearing.

How this company can now claim ‘cash flow difficulties’ and be accommodated with an ‘interim rate increase’ on consumers, is difficult to assimilate from the decision given by the FTC. We fully expect that Emera will simply increase their annual dividends extractions accordingly, since this matter has not been addressed in the ruling.

Also, to the extent that this so-called ‘Interim Rate’ has not been back dated, we are concerned that its only impact will be to prejudice the substantive Hearing with the preconception that the Company’s case is already being supported by the FTC.

The wisdom of the stipulation in our Law that only one rate application be entertained in any single year becomes quite apparent.

The Coalition calls on the FTC to urgently reconsider this flawed decision, and we reserve our rights in the matter.

Trevor Browne
Coalition of Concerned Cooperatives

FTC Chairman Tammy Bryan Moves Out of the Way

The following has been circulating on social media for a few weeks. It seems relevant with the press announcement Chairman of the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) Tammy Bryan has recused herself from taking further part in the Barbados Light & Power (BL&P) rate process – Blogmaster


As a child I liked to play those little games found in magazines called “connect the dots” and “follow the trail”. While following the trail sometimes led to a dead-end, connecting the dots often created an image one would not ordinarily see with the naked eye. Although things like magazines are passe and the world wide web is now en vogue I have kept up with my childhood passion of connecting dots and following trails. 



One day whilst doodling around on a local online newspaper the recent Barbados Light & Power application for a rate hike caught my eye, especially the various actors involved and once again my childhood passion kicked in and I started connecting dots and following trails. 



I kept hearing the name Barbados Light & Power and some name Emera used in the same breath. I wondered what it was and started my trail at the Corporate Affairs website. I discovered an Emera Inc on the external company register as being domiciled and registered in Halifax, Cananda and its mailing address locally was “suite 205-207, Dowell House, Roebuck & Palmetto Streets, Bridgetown, Barbados”. 



Of course, I googled that address where a whole set of hits came up which all identified a law firm called George Walton Payne & Co. as being located at that address. I may be wrong but Emera is probably a client of that law firm. My childhood inquisitiveness continued and of course I wanted to know who were the people in this law firm and I quickly checked the Barbados Bar Association website and names like an Andrew Vanroy Thornhill, Q.C, a Tammy Lavone Bryan and a Mr. George Walton Payne, Q.C, all came up.



That last name triggered something in my head and then I remembered why the name of that law firm sounded familiar. If I not mistaken is that not the law firm where the Attorney General Mr. Dale D. Marshall, Q.C was a managing partner? He supposed to have some flagship piece of law called Integrity in Public Life that he can’t seem to breathe life into. I didn’t see his name on the Bar Association website but I sure he still got friends in there.   



That trail led to a dead end, but still not satisfied I went back to the Corporate Affairs website and typed in Emera in various forms only to discover that there are two Emera (Caribbean) Incorporated, one listed on the Amalgamation (Domestic) Register as company 40270 and the other on the Domestic Register as company 14327. There is yet another, Emera Caribbean Holdings Limited on the International Business Company as company number 40616. All of that was gobbledy-gook to me except that one name kept cropping up. That of Andrew V. Thornhill, and I wondered if this person could possibly be Andrew Vanroy Thornhill, Q.C? I must admit that I cheated on this one and got some help from a little birdy who had access to the people database but it confirmed that they are the same person. Not only is he a partner in that fancy law firm but he is a managing partner if you please. Apparently it was he who managed that big fish of Emera buying the shares of the BL&P! Now I understand why people call the two names together. Emera owns Light & Power. My little exercise didn’t lead me anywhere though. I heard it isn’t unusual for lawyers to sit on the boards of their client companies who they represent legally. I had run into a dead-end again so I started on a new track.



I started at the website of the Fair Trading Commission because it is that government entity who is to determine the principles, rates and standards of service for places like Light & Power. Their values are supposed to include acting with integrity, fostering the respect and trust of staff and the public, and demonstrating impartiality. This FTC place is headed by a board of Commissioners under the chairmanship of a Mrs. Tammy Bryan. Something there again rang a bell, that name sounded awfully familiar. Is this Mrs. Tammy Bryan, Chairman of the FTC and the Tammy Lavone Bryan of George Walton Payne & Co. the legal firm that represents Emera one and the same person? Again, I had to cheat on this one and look at the back of the book for the answers, and again my suspicions were confirmed. Not only is she a partner together with Andrew Vanroy Thornhill Q.C, one of the Emera Directors, but is junior to him. The people work in the same place with their offices separated by a veneer thin piece of Chinese see-though paper for a wall! They probably borrow pens, papers, chit-chat about how wifey, hubby or the children doing and bounce things off each other. 



I don’t know, but would a managing partner not be senior to an ordinary partner and have a certain level of influence on them? Don’t Chairman of anything still have a certain level of influence on the other members? I know sometimes they have a deciding vote on things. 



I’m ignorant to how these things work, but I began to wonder if the law firm George Walton Payne & Co. was working for its client Emera in advising on the current application before the FTC panel for an order for a confidentiality hearing and for rate increases backdate to November last year. If this is so, would the law firm of George Walton Payne & Co. not stand to make a profit in some form or fashion from that application of its client Emera to the FTC under the chairmanship of one of its partners? This picture looking really ugly though.



Again I am ignorant to these things but does a partner in a law firm not equate to that of a director in a company even if by another name? Does a partner in a law firm not have a duty to the firm and to look out for its best interest? I would have to consult with a lawyer on that one but it makes me wonder who the missy that is Partner/Chairman/Commissioner batting for.




I also wonder about the FTC Commissioners, are they not “Directors” of that entity as well, even if by another name and owe a duty to that entity and as their value statement” said to act with integrity and demonstrate impartiality? I remembered years ago in a business law class somewhere that directors have a duty not to make a secret profit. I also remembered in that same class some talk about disclosure, conflict of interest and the whole nine yards. 



I must admit though that I’ve never had these two games combined into one, where following a track connected dots along the way.In the end, I seem to be no wiser in my little online follow the track and connect the dots game for what I’ve ended up with looks more like one of those things oletime things called a cesspit. It used to have in a lot of nasty worms and creepers and it looked like it was living. God forbid if you ever disturbed it and it belched. The whole place was stink for miles around.




I must see if any of the intervenors at the FTC, BL&P rate hearing can help me to identify what I just ended up with. In the meantime I moving on to the next game called follow the trail and find Ian Carrington.

EMERA Wants Increase!

It harrows the blogmaster with fear and wonder (thanks Artax) that the Barbados Light and Power company (EMERA) sees it fit and proper to apply for a rate increase. The company in its PR communication to deflect the decision assures low income households the increase to billing will be negligible IF approved by the Fair Trading Commission (FTC). The assumption is that the middleclass and others will have the capacity to absorb what is estimated to be upwards to a 20% increase in monthly billing.

The question from a lowly blogmaster is why does Barbados find itself in a position where EMERA feels justified to request a rate increase. Under the previous Democratic Labour Party government there was a push to aggressively implement a vibrant renewable sector with the objective of weaning our dependence on Barbados Light & Power as the controlling power source. Several years later the question we are justified to ask is – are we there yet?

The country is currently consumed with Covid 19 narratives but walking and chewing gum still apply. An affordable energy cost is critical to managing the cost of living in Barbados.

Source: CBC

Lights Out!

Following the ongoing national debate about the response by EMERA to post-Elsa damage to its network gets the blogmaster’s dander up. In 2012 the BU family predicted the decision by the NIS Board chaired by Tony Marshall to dump our shares in Barbados Light and Power (BL&P) to Canada-based EMERA would comeback to haunt us. ALL sensible Barbadians agreed at the time that BL&P was a strategic asset and any smart government should have seen the merit to ring-fencing the ownership – see BU Archive. The government received pieces of silver to bolster the foreign reserves and as we did in 2003 with the sale of the Barbados National Bank to Republic Bank the decisions of key companies operating in Barbados are being made offshore.

Better late than never is the saying. Barbadians are correct to question EMERA’s disaster recovery plan (DR) in light of what transpired with the passing of Hurricane Elsa as a CAT 1. What if…?

  • Is the Disaster Plan designed to optimally respond to unplanned incidents like natural disasters and other disruptive events?
  • Is it a regulatory requirement for EMERA’s Disaster Recovery Plan to be submitted to the Fair Trading Commissions (FTC) or relevant government agency to ensure there is alignment with a national standard?

The BL&P enjoyed an excellent reputation with Barbadians in the period before the sale to EMERA for power uptime, customer service and pole maintenance to list just three. Information is abroad that many jobs were retrenched and others outsourced to sub contractors when EMERA bought our strategic asset. Did Hurricane Elsa as a CAT 1 hurricane expose EMERA’s Disaster for Barbados?

Chris Halsall

The blogmaster is aware Transmission and Distribution (TD) of electricity is a highly technical area and reached out to Chris Halsall who has acted in the role of intervenor in FTC Rate Hearings to assist with the post Hurricane Elsa review.

A natural monopoly is a type of monopoly that exists typically due to the high start-up costs or powerful economies of scale of conducting a business in a specific industry which can result in significant barriers to entry for potential competitors. A company with a natural monopoly might be the only provider of a product or service in an industry or geographic location. Natural monopolies can arise in industries that require unique raw materials, technology, or similar factors to operate.


To understand why the electric company is a strategic asset and should not have been sold to EMERA is to accept that it is a natural monopoly. And efficient electric company is a requirement for a productive Barbados. Are we confident the FTC and Ministry of Commerce will protect the rights of Barbadians proclaimed under the Consumer Protection Act? Is it a case that at the end of the day EMERA will simply continue to invest in new deployment and expend on maintenance as they see fit by passing the costs to the consumer along with their allowed 10.4% ROR on the “Rate Base”?

This critique is not directed at the linemen seen scaling poles at ungodly hours during the last week to return households to full service. We have a tendency in the hysteria of the moment to conflate issues.

We turn our attention to EMERA’s pole plant:

1.  Poles
1.1.  There are many instances where poles are not vertical.  This is a good indicator the pole requires maintenance.
1.1.1.  It doesn’t take much effort to find poles mounted side-by-side, one or both leaning, tied together.

1.2.  Related to this are cases of vines growing on the poles and/or trees growing near them.
1.3.  Pole maintenance cost money.  This will, of course, have to be passed onto the Consumer.
1.4.  This is the “Layer 0” in the OSI model for wired connections –

2.  Cables
2.1.  As was documented at some length during the Rate Hearings way-back-when, “Pole attachments” are a big deal. They are why the poles exist at all.
2.2. The topmost attachment areas are for cables that deliver electrical power by way of Transmission (one or three phases of *very* high voltage).
2.3.  Next down is for Distribution (one to three phases of ~110V; two plus neutral is the most common).

2.3.  Then at the very bottom areas are for the various telephony providers to attach copper pairs (legacy), Coax cable (legacy), and/or Fiber (GPON, etc).

2.4.  The cables also require maintenance.  IMO, the telephony providers have not been maintaining their cables as well as they might.
2.5.  Cables are the “Layer 1” in the OSI model, and are the only options for power.

3.  Situational awareness
3.1.  Although BL&P has invested in “Smart Meters”, it would be interesting to know if this fed into their SCADA systems.

3.2.  It might be worth looking at having “Crowd-Sourced” knowledge of poles and/or cables which should be reviewed.
3.3.  The BL&P App needs which facilitates reports of faulty poles, light etc needs to be aggressively promoted and details of the reports and follow up shared with the public. To many anecdotal stories of reports of leaning poles with no apparent response from the power company.

4.  Alternatives
4.1.  Underground cables are less susceptible to winds, but are to flooding and are much more expensive to deploy.
4.2.  “Smart Grid” technology could make the grid more resilient.  But that’s a very long-term discussion.

Although this blog focuses on the quality of response post Elsa by EMERA, it is worth mentioning the number of poorly constructed homes damaged or destroyed and the inability of successive governments to legislate and enforce a building code.

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?

No Power… No Vision


The Barbados Light and Power Company (BL&P) is one of the local utilities most Barbadians will agree has provided a better than satisfactory level of service through the years. The blogmaster does not have access to the ‘power outage’ history of BL&P since it was delivered to the Canadian power company EMERA. However, if one were to go by the anecdotal it seems the company has struggled under new ownership to sustain the high level of service Barbadians have become accustomed. Even the monkeys making mock sport at dem!

There was an island wide power outage on the 8 January 2018 at 3PM and at the time of updating this blog areas of Barbados remain dark as well as with intermittent service. According to social media reports the power company has advised that its Seawell substation in Christ Church is the source of the problem and technicians are working around the clock to fix the problem .

Barbados Underground has always defined the BL&P as a national strategic asset which the government should never have allowed the ownership to slip into the hands of the Canadians for the proverbial 30 pieces of silver. An advantage to being small should be that we are able to build and implement strategic plans to maximize on our resources. The ‘disparate’ approach to how we have been governing this little rock has started to generate undesirable outcomes in every sphere of activity- protracted depressed economic performance, inability to implement a sustainable waste management program; evident by infrequent garbage collection and inefficient sewage disposal, unstable industrial climate, operating at the murder median in the last decade, the rise of NCDs and obesity etc, etc and etc.

The upcoming general election serves as the ideal opportunity for Barbadians and others vested in a well-managed Barbados to up the quality of debate -to do. We have a responsibility to our children and future generations. We have a duty to protect and build on the rich legacy our forefathers have laid for us.

In plenty and in time of need
When this fair land was young
Our brave forefathers sowed the seed
From which our pride was sprung
A pride that makes no wanton boast
Of what it has withstood
That binds our hearts from coast to coast
The pride of nationhood

Come on Barbados, we can do this if we try.


BL&P Denied!

ftcIt is with great interest BU read the decision handed down by the Fair Trading Commission to DENY the application by the Barbados Light & Power Company Limited (BL&P)  to apply the results and costs of Fuel Hedging to the Fuel Clause Adjustment (FCA). Some will argue that this is a pyrrhic victory given a prior decision by Barbadians to surrender the BL&P -a strategic national asset-  to the Canadian company EMERA.

We understand why a company like BL&P utilizes hedging to protect its revenue position given the volatility that exist in the oil market. What we do not understand is why BL&P would want to pass the cost of hedging and associated gains or losses onto the consumers of Barbados. Surely in the case of a company like BL&P hedging is considered a core strategy for managing the business. The application to pass the cost of hedging to the Barbadian consumer should be regarded as an insult to our level of intelligence.

Can one expect with BL&P’s application being declined that a fallback strategy will unfold? Many of us are acutely aware the Spring Garden generators are old as one example. We need our local INDEPENDENT analyst to share views on the state of the power supply and generation in Barbados. It is too important a matter to allow foreign interest to dictate.

On a tangential note we find the list of FTC Commissioners interesting read Andrew Willoughby and Kendrid Sargeant.

Here is the decision to deny the application of BL&P by the Fair Trading Commission of Barbados:

Active Image




The Fair Trading Commission, having reviewed the Barbados Light & Power Company Limited’s (BL&P) Application to apply the results and costs of Fuel Hedging to the Fuel Clause Adjustment (FCA), has moved to deny said Application.

The Commission has determined that:

I. Due to the risks associated with fuel hedging, the BL&P should not be allowed to pass the cost of hedging and associated gains or losses onto the consumers of Barbados.

II. The Applicant has not provided enough evidence to suggest that the Barbadian public is willing to pay for the reduced volatility in fuel prices.

Following receipt of the Application on March 29, 2016, the Commission invited written submissions from interested parties, in accordance with Rule 37 of the Utilities Regulation (Procedural) Rules, 2003 (S.I. 2003 No. 104) (URPR). Five parties, who were granted intervenor status to participate in the process, considered the Application. Several issues of concern were raised by the intervenors, including hedging risk and strategy, related administrative costs and the efficiency of BL&P’s plant.

The Commission reviewed these submissions and also undertook a detailed analysis of the issues involved. This included a review of regional and international fuel hedging case studies, a simulation of fuel hedging within the local market and technical considerations related to the BL&P’s overall plant efficiency.

The findings illustrate that while the implementation of a hedging strategy could reduce the volatility of fuel prices, this potential reduction is often accompanied by a high risk of hedge losses. Also of concern to the Commission was BL&P’s lack of vital evidence to support its Application, such as a detailed hedging strategy and proof that the average Barbadian consumer would be willing to bear the costs associated with a reduction in volatility.

The Decision may be accessed here or obtained from the Fair Trading Commission, Good Hope, Green Hill, St. Michael, Monday to Friday, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

December 29, 2016

Nekaelia Hutchinson-Holder
Information Specialist
Fair Trading Commission
Good Hope, Green Hill,
St. Michael
Tel.: 424-0260

Fair Trading Commission: Discussion Required About Frequency Ride Through Standards

Submitted by Hallam Hope as a on Barbados Renewable Energy Program–A Case of the Tail Wagging the Dog blog

Hallam Hope, Caritel

Hallam Hope, Caritel

As sometimes the solitary or among the few private sector/consumer-based participant in consultations on Telecommunications and Renewable Energy CARITEL […] Continue reading

Barbados Workers Union FACE OFF With Barbados Light & Power Company

Submitted by Anthony Davis

The Barbados Light & Power Company Limited (BL&P) has been warned that it will not be allowed to send home workers before discussing the matter with the Social Partnership. Any attempt to do so will be met with strong resistance from the combined forces of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) and Ministry of Labour, the union’s General Secretary Toni Moore cautioned today – Barbados Today

tonimooreI sincerely hope that this is not another empty threat by one of the trade unions in this country. Recently they are better known for their bark rather than their bite, as they have not represented their constituents to the best of their abilities because they were sleeping too soundly in their beds with this Government.

I take umbrage at the behaviour of the head of the BL&P when she states that it is either layoffs or a rate hike. Is she a member of the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) that she can make such an audacious statement?

In other words, does she have any say whatsoever in whether that company would be granted a rate hike?

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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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Barbados Renewable Energy Program–A Case of the Tail Wagging the Dog

Senator Darcy Boyce, Minister of Energy

Senator Darcy Boyce, Minister of Energy

The Fair Trading Commission (FTC) recently ruled on the motion for review of the billing arrangement and metering option of the Renewable Energy Rider  (RER) – see FTC Order and Decision . The RER is a mechanism established by government to facilitate the sale of surplus electricity to the grid supplied by customers with Renewable Energy (RE)  systems.

The government of Barbados has committed to facilitate the RE sector as part of sustaining a new economy not overly dependent on traditional economic drivers. The growing energy bill of Barbados and dependence on fossil fuel is a concern. An important strategy therefore is to ensure the legislative and regulatory framework is expertly (sensibly) designed to encourage enthusiastic adoption of RE solutions. Key to a successful RE penetration is aggressive participation by RE providers and confidence by end consumers to embrace RE as a top of mind solution to satisfy energy needs.

For those who have been following the emergence of the local RE sector still at a nascent stage of development, several concerns have been raised by the early adopters.  The most recent FTC hearing attracted submissions from CARITEL, Sir Allan Fields, Dick Stoute, Williams Industries, Solar Watt Systems and John Haywards. Visibly absent from the process was a consumer organization.  Unfortunately the iterations embedded in the RER ‘decisioning’ process is bound up in technical language which the average Barbadian is inclined to leave to the experts to unravel. There is however a basic level of interest and participation all Barbadians should show as it pertains to the development of a national RE program.  We are after all described as an educated and literate group of people.

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Our Energy Policy is Adrift

The following submission probes government’s energy policy

Barbados Light and Power headquarters on Bay Street

Barbados Light and Power headquarters on Bay Street

Our energy policy is becoming more and more perplexing. So much so that any reasonable person analyzing the decisions and statements of those whose stewardship we depend on for efficient, reliable, sustainable energy practices would conclude that presently we as a nation could not be any further adrift. Commenting on the same issue, and on the need for a coherent energy blueprint, a well-known businessman recently opined that “there does not seem to be a well –defined and quantified, coordinated and integrated energy policy being articulated by government.” While there may be some merit in this statement, many would argue that any incoherence in our energy policy resides mainly in two locations: Spring Garden and Green Hill.

A clear example of incoherent messaging is the Barbados Light and Power (BL&P) advertisement of Friday May 9th in Weekend Nation. In this ad, the company is inviting “expressions of interest” in the building of an 8MW solar plant on 40 acres of land at Trents, St Lucy with a projected completion date of March 2016. BL&P recently completed an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), a 25 year blueprint which they purport maps “Barbados future power needs and identifies a future portfolio of power generating technologies.” The remarkable thing about this document, which is currently awaiting FTC’s approval, is how rapidly it changes emphasis and direction. It has now had three major revisions in as many months. In the original plan which was valid up to November 2013, utility-scale solar and waste- to- energy (WTE) were not seen as economically viable technologies in the least cost expansion plan. Apparently, they are now, displacing much of the wind generation and some of the low speed diesel capacity, technologies that were previously considered the lynchpin in driving energy costs down.

Read full article…

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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Fair Trading Commission (FTC) Must Play Leadership Role Transitioning Barbados to RE

Hallam Hope - Managing Director of CARITEL

Hallam Hope – Managing Director of CARITEL

There is nothing surprising about a monopoly, namely EMERA, seeking to protect its commercial monopoly interests. That essentially is what the Renewable Energy Rider (RER) consultation paper is about. At issue though is whether the desired regulatory approval that serves a monopoly’s interest should be allowed to undermine the interest in the liberalisation and economic safeguards of a sovereign state. There is little doubt in my mind that based on the research and very small team assembled by my consultancy CARITEL that we do have the intellectual resources in Barbados to take the emerging Renewable Energy (RE) sector forward.

The Fair Trading Commission (FTC) clearly has its challenges or it would have done two things. Rather than pass the buck. It would have addressed the RER holistically meaning Fuel Clause Adjustment (FCA), RER etc as one issue and secondly, it would have come up with its own researched positions rather than tender an EMERA document for public comment.

This is a national issue of some significance not a request for a rate adjustment. We have the usual confusing mix of excellent information, disinformation and unresearched prattle.

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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