Cost of Living Alert: BL&P to Submit Application for Rate Increase


Source: Fair Trading Commission (FTC)

Amid the din of post-Christmas activity the FTC posted a notice requesting technical assistance to support a rate review in the second quarter 2019. A worst case scenario for Barbadian consumers to consider is that the BL&P will be granted the increase.

One does not require deep dive analysis to gauge the state of mind of Barbadian consumers, we are a citizenry suffering from economic fatigue.  The blogmaster is of the view the fatigue state of mind of the electorate largely resulted in the 30 zip defeat of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) in the last general election.

Electricity is a significant input cost in the production process. To our credit we have been developing alternative energy sources, however, it is still at a nascent stage. An increase in electricity rates will have a significant impact on the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) cost to pump and distribute water. The upside is that it may speed up the implementation of alternative power sources by that utility company.

There can be no argument that an increase in the electricity rate will drive the cost of living upwards. The business sector continues to be affected by the removal of the road tax and imposition of the fuel tax.

It makes no sense for Barbados to be boasting about  generating energy from alternative sources and at the same time consumers are asked to suffer an increase in electricity rates.




Fee Setting by Legal Profession and other Associations Left Unchecked by Successive Governments

The following was posted to the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) website in July 2008. It is not necessary for the blogmaster to cover the below with comments except to say, ‘we not ready’.

See FTC recommendations on page 26 of the document embedded.

In 2007, the Commission began a follow-up inquiry into fee setting in the professions focusing especially on the schedule of legal fees for non-contentious matters.

The Commission had previously found that mandatory fees set by professional associations were in breach of the Fair Competition Act. However it stopped short of making the same finding in regard to non-contentious fees because they were set in statute. The Commission however determined that the schedule of legal fees for attorneys at law, represented a conflict with the principles of fair and open competition as advocated in the Fair Competition Act.

The Commission therefore has formally recommended that an amendment be made to the Legal Profession Act 1997, so that the fees charged for non-contentious matters can be recognised as being provided for reference only, and attorneys wishing to charge above or below these fees, being able to do so without reprisal.

This will resolve the conflict between the two statutes, and should allow for some competition in the legal profession.

See Fee Setting in the Professions II:  Follow-up Report. [pdf]

Closed July 2008

Cable & Wireless ‘Amalgamation’ and Lack of an Operational Barbados Stock Market

Submitted by Crusoe

The Nation news reports that C&W is seeking to purchase all remaining shares in the company, from minority shareholders ”Under the proposed amalgamation, shareholders will surrender their shares in Cable & Wireless Barbados in exchange for a cash payment of BBD$2.86 for each common share.”

For a company that has not paid a dividend for years, yet made substantial profits, how can such a low share price be substantiated?

Surely the FSC should examine the calculations supporting such a share price, including the expected future earnings potential of the shares, as a share price should be calculated.

That C&W Barbados has not paid a dividend in years would, while making profits, is shocking, would surely not be allowed by shareholders in North America (the directors would have been roasted, as NA shareholders in any company expect a dividend every quarter) and this ridiculously low share price merely adds insult to injury.

What exactly is the FSC in Barbados doing to protect minority shareholders?

This event adds credence to the assertion that there is no real stock market in Barbados, that any semblance of such is a veneer, with no real possibility of small shareholders earning via dividends or share appreciation. Add to this, that profitable companies locally are mostly privately owned and the whole thing becomes a joke.

If one believes that assertion and I do, then the conclusion is that Barbadian citizens should be allowed to invest in international stock markets, to have every opportunity that others have. Handcuffing Barbadians in using their earned income to invest is idiocy. Government policy on investments, limitations on overseas investment, is nonsense and needs to change.

There is not and will never be a viable stock market in Barbados.

Barbados Integrity Movement Open Letter to the Fair Trading Commission -Proposed BNTCL Sale to SOL GROUP

Submitted by the Barbados Integrity Movement (BIM)

Arawak Cement Limited Files Complaint with Fair Trading Commission Against Rock Hard Cement,with documents

Rock HardThe ongoing battle between Arawak Cement Limited and Rock Hard Cement Limited for marketshare has escalated to the Fair Trading Commission (FTC). The law firm Belgrave Eastmond Associates acting on behalf of Arawak Cement has lodged a complaint to the FTC citing several breaches of the Consumer Protection Act as it relates to Rock Hard Cement advertising.

Section 12 (2)

A person shall not. in trade or commerce as a supplier, engage in conduct that is, or is likely to be, misleading or deceptive.


Section 13

A person shall not in trade, or as a supplier,

(a) falsely represent that goods are of a particular standard, quality, grade or composition, style or model or have had a particular history, or a particular previous use;


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

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…

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.

Illegal Water Rates: Pay Back The Money

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

On March 3, 2012, the Saturday Sun published an article entitled, “BWA Sacred Cow”, which claimed that the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) is no longer regulated under the Utilities Regulation Act (the Act) chapter 282 of the laws of Barbados. This in effect means that Fair Trading Commission (FTC) cannot set water rates or hear and determine any complaints about the quality of service provided by the BWA. Any such complaints against the BWA can only be made to the BWA. As the article stated,

“They [BWA] are judge, jury, everything. You have to accept what they say. So water in this case is creating difficulty because of the change that was made in 2009 when it was removed . . . it is creating a lot of problems for the consumers”.

The obvious question must now be: How did the regulation of the BWA get back to this undesirable situation? The answer is not the most honourable thing that the present Government has done.

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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).

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Canadian EMERA Controls Key Strategic Asset Of Barbados

New Managing Director, Mark King of Barbados Light & Power Company

Many Barbadians are still fuming at the decision by the government of Barbados to sell part of its 21% holdings in Light & Power Holdings (L&PH) to Canadian company EMERA. Many Barbadians are still fuming at the ruling by the Fair Trading Commission of Barbados to approve Barbados Light and Power’s application for a 10% return on rate base. The deed is done but it does not stop some of us from remaining vigilant.

The decision to allow a strategic asset like the Barbados Light & Power Company to become almost 100% owned by EMERA remains a concern for BU. It is noteworthy a similar acquisition occurred in Bahamas in November 2011 but unlike Barbados citizens of Bahamas have decided to become proactive in light of a deterioration in the quality of service since the acquisition of Grand Bahamas Power Company. The regulatory framework in the Bahamas appears to be a little different to  Barbados’s which should not detract from our concerns.

BU hopes to join with others in the coming weeks to probe the integrity of decision making by EMERA. If we are to judge by the reports posted by Miles Howe of the Halifax Media Group there is an opportunity for Barbadian consumers to demand answers to a few questions.

Here is the opening paragraph from another article posted by Miles Howe:

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The Fair Trade Commission Responds To Query About Delisting Of Companies Listed On The Barbados Stock Exchange

Submitted by Atrue Freeman

The following is in response to your email of January 8, 2011 in which you commented on the matter of de-listing a security from the Barbados Stock Exchange Inc. and in particular on the perceived effect of a de-listing on minority shareholders.
We draw your attention firstly to section 38(1) of the Securities Act, Cap. 318A (“Securities Act”) which provides that where an application is made for an Order from the Commission authorising the de-listing of a security, the Commission may impose such conditions, if any as it thinks fit for the protection of investors.

In responding to a request for an Order authorizing the de-listing of a security therefore the Commission takes into consideration the particular circumstances of a de-listing and proceeds in accordance with the provisions of section 38 of the Securities Act.

It is important to note that in accordance with section 38(2) of the Securities Act the Commission may only refuse to authorize the de-listing of a security in circumstances where the de-listing is in breach of the rules of the self-regulatory organization; or an agreement entered into by the issuer of the security.

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