Nation e-Edition

Stifling electricity costs

SHAWN TUDOR: It is difficult for us to seriously move the entire economy forward with the kind of energy costs, energy structure that we have. (Picture by Sharon Harding.)

By Mike King | Sun, May 05, 2013 - 10:30 AM

Escalating electricity levels at the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (BADMC) are costing millions, which is unsustainable.

And according to BADMC chairman Shawn Tudor, it just can’t be business as usual and the regulatory framework governing energy and electricity has got to be revisited.

“There comes a time in the history of a nation when ‘as usual’ will not do, when the status quo will no longer suffice and, I dare say, we are at that point.

“Electricity regulation and power generation is already at unsustainable cost levels. In terms of electricity, the corporation has now joined the millionaires’ roll,” Tudor said when delivering the feature address at the Democratic Labour Party’s lunchtime lecture in Belleville, St Michael, last Friday.

He said the BADMC uses electricity to pump water to 742 farmers across the country and what is being collected from farmers is not even covering the company’s electricity bill, adding that the cost of pumping water has doubled since 2004.

He made it clear that if the BADMC attempted to recover the electricity cost, the Government entity would have to almost double farmers’ rates.

“I am just talking of only the electricity costs. Can we really say to farmers, you have got to pay us double or we are not going to give you any more water? What impact would that have on agriculture across the country?

“So we can look at the link between electricity costs and agriculture in the country. What will we be faced with – do we either sacrifice the workers or sacrifice the farmers? We will do neither of those two things; we will find a way out of this.”

Tudor said that with the current regulatory framework and mode of  power generation, costs were bound to increase from time to time.

Noting that energy cost seven times more than in Trinidad and Tobago, Tudor, a financial marketing analyst, said that with the kind of energy structure in Barbados, it would be extremely difficult to move the economy forward unless Government addressed the issue of electricity.

“We need a regulated smart grid. It is fairly obvious where the ownership should be but it cannot be a private for-profit monopoly to determine how, where and when other participants will operate within the system.

“We have been unable to make progress because of the regulatory framework that we have. It is difficult for us to seriously move the entire economy forward with the kind of energy costs, energy structure that we have,” he said.

Tudor said he was certain this issue was replicated throughout the island, with escalating electricity cost taking its toll on the hotel and other industries.

In relation to the regulatory hurdle, he urged the powers that be to take action now that would allow innovation and investment to flow.

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Posted by Tony Webster 1 year, 5 months ago
While BL&P bills will continue to be paid in BB$, when discussing any issue relating to the "rising costs" of energy, it would bring agreat deal more clarity to the isse, if the speaker, or the reporter, would kindly speak in terms of KWh (kilo-watt-hours) consumed. This way, one can easily distinguish whether the usage has gone up (by how much, and why?), or the delivered and charged unit-cost has gone up, or down (and by how much, and why). Strange, but true: my grand-father Joe, had a noisy contraption in Wildey yard. I recall clearly it was marked AEROMOTOR Co., Chicago. It ran tirelessly, 24/7/365. and the water-tank was always full. Barrels of oil used: nil; KWh used:nil. BB$ paid: nil. Ground-provisions and vegggies produced: nuff. Yes indeed, amend our regulations (quickly, please) to ensure that privately-produced surplus KWh is used by, and paid for fairly by the monopoly we now have, but brute-force regulation which puts the supplier in an equally "unsustainable" position itself, will be a phyrric victory. How the hecvk will BL&P, "Plan", and deliver the requisite national total KWh, when this will depend on some thousands of "suppliers" over whom it has no control; and who are not only subject to the whims of sun and wind; or to execrising their prerogative.. to use all their airconditioners ...on a warm day? A fair, common-sense compromise will prevail, but the real devil will remain: we use too much energy now, and have little appetite, for either economising, or in making more D.I.Y. power, in significant degree.. Funny thing: the high unit costs have "encouraged" cut down nicely on KWhs used...and on my bills!

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Posted by Bim Bum 1 year, 5 months ago
All the old water-pumping windmills have been left to rust and rot.
And now we cry.

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Posted by David Hall 1 year, 5 months ago
And all this while the government continues to suffer from inertia. They will not admit the the opposition proposal to reduce the cost of electricity by dealing with the VAT and surcharge on the cost of fuel will bring some relief; neither do they want to tell farmers that they will have to pay more,therefore in the interim Tax-payers will continue to feel the squeeze.

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Posted by Mac 10 1 year, 5 months ago
Change the whole operation over to solar power. Be a beacon to alternative power & see your electric costs drop. Show Barbados the way to go & how much you can save. BL&P won't like it but tough!! If they were to go solar too, then they would see costs fall as well. BADMC should be environmentally friendly in all aspects of it's operation. A reliance of fossil fuels has to change. If the government really wants to go "green" then do it. To quote Yoda "Do or do not, there is no try"

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