Tag Archives: Fair Trading Commission (FTC)
Electricity Tariff Rates Cut by Fair Trading Commission
Submitted by the Barbados Association of Professional Engineers (BAPE)
Press release from Barbados Association of Professional Engineers
The Barbados Fair Trading Commission (FTC) in late 2022, granted an ‘interim’ rate increase to the Barbados Light & Power Company (BLPC) based only on that Company’s assertion that they were facing a ‘cash crisis’.
On November 28, 2022, the BLPC issued a letter to the public indicating that they would no longer be entertaining photovoltaic (PV) connections to their Grid, unless appropriate ‘mitigating measures’ were addressed.
These measures apparently require the provision of commensurate battery storage by the applicants themselves, or the granting of licenses to BLPC to install their own battery storage – to be 100% paid for by electricity consumers along with handsome guaranteed profits to Emera.Continue reading
The Age of Lump
The Fair-Trading Commission’s rate hearings are tragically amusing. Essentially, Emera (BL&P) are telling Barbadians that 1 + 1 = 38.692. Based on the recent pattern, it is foreseen that FTC will find that 1 + 1 is a number higher than 32.
Several intervenors are using evidence and reason to show that it is sheer lunacy to suggest that 1 + 1 = 38.692. However, they seem oblivious to something that Emera and other foreign entities are relying on – Barbados no longer respects evidence-based arguments.
We have moved from the safety of making decisions based on evidence and reasoned arguments, to a dangerous age where decisions are made based on an end-justifies-the-means philosophy.
It is mathematically possible to argue that 1+ 1 equals a number between 1 and 3. Previously, foreign entities would have had too much respect for Barbadians to even suggest that 1 + 1 equals anything greater than three. But we have informed the world that in Barbados, the means of truth and accuracy are no longer important. The end may justify any dishonest, harmful and idiotic means imaginable.
The first domino to fall was the removal of Nelson’s statue based on provable false justifications. As I explained at the time, I was not defending Nelson but truth. We should not be forced to accept that 1 + 1 = 46 to justify removing any statue. I predicted that crossing this line of ignoring credible evidence, and using dishonest means to justify an end, would eventually be used against all of us.
The next domino to fall was our constitutional monarchical system of Government. The same end-justifies-the-dishonest-means philosophy was used in an even more brazen fashion to force Barbadians into a republic. The Government proved that by simply saying things that were clearly untrue, Barbadians will bow down and declare the lie to be the truth – that is who we have now become.
Some of our community leaders want it both ways. They want to force us to accept ends that they want using dishonest and harmful means, and delay ends that they do not want by insisting on evidence-based research. The UWI professors and lecturers, secondary school teachers, religious leaders, politicians, economists, poets, artists, business leaders, community leaders and others irresponsibly led Barbadians to ignore the dishonest means, fall in line and just accept the ends.
Crossing the line of reason was stupidly short sighted and extremely dangerous for citizens. Having sacrificed our personal integrity for a couple of dominoes, we must now accept ends that are definitely not in our best interests. The pattern of other countries who have gone this way before us, is that after the people short sightedly cheered the fall of the first few dominoes, the fall of the remaining dominoes tended to bring oppressive suffering.
I have a lot of respect for the intervenors, especially fellow Engineers Trevor Browne, Ricky Went and Stephen Worme, Attorney Tricia Watson and Accountant David Simpson. I appreciate their persistent evidence-based reasonable arguments. However, they seem not to know that we are in another age that few of us will like – the age of lump it.
Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com
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.
Coalition of Concerned Cooperatives
A Citizen’s Fight Against FLOW, no help from FTC
Barbados Underground highlights the following as a public service. If FLOW or DIGICEL want to make representation the blogmaster is open to sharing the other view. The blogmaster takes this opportunity to wish Intervenors every success in the electricity rate hearing due to commence on September 21, 2020. – Blogmaster
Around December 2, 2017, Flow moved wires from up stairs to down stairs for a telephone line, the technician drilled the wire through the sewage pipe. Around February 2019 Digicel drilled through the same sewage pipe and installed the internet line, The sewage was leaking through the house at a slow pace, my grand daughter visited Barbados on holiday, and kept telling me, Granny your house is stink, I told her it the sea moss etc, I also smelled it before and I use a lot disinfectant sprays to no avail, but she will still insist it stink, I searched upstairs downstairs, no dead rats, I found little small black things like little snake coming through the bathroom sinks, in my bed I tried grabbing one on my bed, the thing sting me like a ‘sanapee’, i found one in my house slipper so I been spraying my house slippers since. ‘Sanapees’ and ants in the dining room and kitchen when Digicel contractor started to dig out the pipe, so many ants!
Around the month of June 2020 the Government issued a warring asking Barbadians to secure their homes, I decided to installed bars at the windows, we had to moved the table with the computer and the one with the printer, and the carpet, that when we saw the sewerage leaking , it went under the floor boards and the stink was very strong.
I emailed Flow, their replied just a note stating we received your email and it has a number, every time I email I got a number, I got a letter delivered to Flow, 2 supervisors from flow came, one was very nice, the other very rude, the nice one I knew his mother, the rude one said Flow is not going to do that or this, In the meantime Digicel did the repairs to the house, there did not paint the house inside or outside, just the part that was dug out and he asked me if I had any paint, I told him it maybe lighter I thought he was using it as base, but he just left it like that, Marshal the person who was in charge of the product, was to come back and redo the flooring her boss called and promised he will do the flooring and I will get compensation, so far I have not heard from him since March 2022.
After flow came and moved their wire out of the sewage and rewire, I did not hear from them. I sent a letter to Mr. Jenson Sylvester around Mar 16, 2021, no replied, so I went and demonstrated, within 20 minutes of being outside Flow [Gabrielle a very nice young lady came to me, and asked to come inside so we can talk, but I did not go, because a beautiful young lady [Sandy] from the Nation saw me and told me she was going and get her camera and come back. Janet Taylor and her team of lawyers we corresponded back and forth to no avail. I wrote Fair Trading, a Mr. Stewart Carter said the commission has no jurisdiction over this matter.
I enclosed the picture of the damages, one picture is worth a thousand words.
See a few of relevant documents sent to FLOW to support claim and FLOW’s response.
The Electric Light and Power (Amendment) bill, just passed in the House of Assembly, and is now in the Senate. The intent of the Bill appears clear, and the responses of our Parliamentarians during its passage seem to confirm that intent.
The intent appears to prevent expert intervenors (objectors) from frustrating the Government’s efforts from collecting more taxes. Government collects more taxes if BL&P are allowed to charge the public more to supply electrical power. There is so much wrong with the Amendments, but for brevity, I shall present one concern.
According to Section 5A (1) and (2) of the Bill, objectors must inform the Minister of their: (a) interest in the application, (b) grounds of objection, and (c) evidence. Now here is the crazy part.
Section 5A(5) “The Committee shall, in making a recommendation to the Minister in respect of an application for a licence, take into account any representation or objection made in relation to the application that the Minister considers to have merit.”
This situation is so ludicrously not in the public’s interest that we can only lump it. Objectors, who are experts in their field, want to present their case to persons on the Committee with the capacity to understand the technical issues. In Barbados, before an expert objector can approach the technical Committee, they must convince a lay Minister.
Barbadian Ministers seem to believe that they magically become experts in everything within their ministerial portfolio. Based on the responses of our Parliamentarians to this Bill, they are clearly out of their technical depth on this matter.
Expert Objectors may not have the time or patience to teach a busy lay Minister the rudiments of: electrical engineering, structural engineering, environmental engineering, mechanical engineering, material science, accounting, law, productivity, etc, and their relation to the rate increases sought by BL&P.
Expert objectors want to make their case to the technical Committee. However, they can only get to that Committee if they can somehow teach the Minister to understand their concerns. If our Senators have the same technical capacity as our Parliamentarians, then we are sunk.
Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com
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.
Clement Payne Movement Denounce the DLP Decision to Privatize the BNTCL
Dear Sirs / Madams,
The Clement Payne Movement sent out a Press Release yesterday pertaining to the Fair Trading Commission’s decision on the proposed sale of the BNTCL to the SOL group of companies and other related matters. Unfortunately we were operating on the basis of erroneous information published in the Nation Newspaper about the said FTC decision. Now that the content of the FTC decision has been made clear, we have amended and revised our Press Release as follows :-
The Clement Payne Movement denounces the decision of the current Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration to privatize our state-owned Barbados National Terminal Co. Ltd. (BNTCL) by selling it to Mr Kyffin Simpson’s SOL group of companies, and we applaud the recent decision of the Fair Trading Commission NOT to approve the said sale.
Indeed, we consider the actions of the Freundel Stuart administration to be particularly disgraceful, in light of the fact that they contested (and won) the 2013 General Elections on an anti-privatization platform .
Not only did they solemnly promise the Barbadian people that a re-elected DLP Government would preserve our state-owned enterprises, but they also assured us that they were saving us from dastardly BLP privatization intentions!
Needless-to-say, they shamefully betrayed this solemn undertaking by entering into a contract with Mr Simpson’s conglomerate to sell it not just “a” state-owned enterprise, but to sell it the single most valuable and profitable enterprise owned by us, the people of Barbados .
But, not only is the Stuart administration guilty of deceit and treachery, it is also guilty of being captive to a very backward and reactionary right-wing concept of governance.
You see, Mr Stuart’s administration– like virtually all other elements of the current Barbadian political class — seems to believe that a government must be run solely and totally on the basis of taxation. In other words, that the revenue the administration needs to provide government services must come solely from taxing the people and firms of the country.
Indeed, they are so captive to this backward idea that they are seemingly incapable of understanding the necessity of a Government possessing profitable state enterprises that can earn revenue for the Government — revenue that can be applied towards providing the services that the people need.
Clearly, Mr Kyffin Simpson’s company wishes to acquire the BNTCL because it is a profitable enterprise that will earn valuable revenue for the SOL group of companies for many many years into the future.
Well, why can’t Mr Stuart and Mr Sinckler appreciate that we — the citizens of Barbados — wish to continue to own our BNTCL for precisely the same reason ? We are not merely interested in receiving a one-off payment of sixty or eighty Million dollars for our BNTCL ! Rather, we wish to continue to have ownership of this valuable company and have it deliver annual profits for us for many decades to come.
Over the past twenty-five years Barbados has been plagued by silly and treacherous governments that have privatized and divested such valuable and profitable state enterprises as the Insurance Corporation of Barbados, the Barbados National Bank, Barbados External Telecommunications, and the Pine Hill Dairy. And now they propose to sell off the “jewel in the Crown” — the BNTCL.
The message that the successive pro-privatization Administrations have been sending us is that they are of the view that all profitable enterprises that are capable of earning revenue for their owners must be in the hands of the Private Sector, and that Government is to only own unprofitable, loss-making enterprises !
How stupid and backward this thinking is !