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Switch to gas may prompt rate hike

marciadottin, [email protected]

Switch to gas may prompt rate hike

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THE NEXT TIME Barbados Light & Power Company Ltd approaches the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) for an increase in its base rate may be when it moves towards natural gas for electricity generation.
This is according to Light & Power Holdings managing director Peter Williams, who noted that in 2010 the company had indicated that it “didn’t think it would be another 25 years before we would have to go before the commission again”.
“I would say at some point we will have to go to the commission again and it will likely be triggered by the significant investment that we will have to make  if we’re considering switching to natural gas.
“[However,] part of that will be to look to achieve an overall reduction in price so that any increase in our base rate would be equally offset or maybe even more offset by a reduction in price of the input fuel,” he said.
Williams stressed that the company’s long term strategy is to try to stabilize electricity and energy prices in the island.
    He noted that when the utility requested a rate change in 2008 it did so after carefully examining its costs.
    “In this environment now with electricity sales declining, we’re further examining our costs and I know our managing director of the electric utility, Mr Mark King, our chief operating officer and their team are looking very carefully at all of our costs and seeking to further gain efficiencies, trying to eliminate duplication wherever possible.
“That’s an ongoing process.
“I would say it is being helped by our partnership with Emera because in some areas we can do things better with the expertise that they bring and that I think will obviously redound to the benefit of our customers over the long run if we can manage costs and manage costs carefully,” he said. (NB)