Tag Archives: FTC

FTC: Managing Energy Cost

It is estimated that the cost of electricity has doubled in Barbados since 2008. We are curious about the process of sourcing Bunker C to fuel Barbados Light & Power (BL&P) generators. How are the generators which use Bunker C integrated into the distribution of electricity to the benefit of the consumer? How has the price of Bunker C trended since 2008 and have Barbadians consumers benefited?

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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.

Fair Trading Commission RENEWABLE ENERGY RIDER Consultation

Submitted by St George’s Dragon
The late Professor Oliver Headley would be disappointed with lack of progress in the alternative energy sector were he alive

The late Professor Oliver Headley would be disappointed with the lack of progress in the alternative energy sector were he alive

The Government wants 29% of all electricity consumption to be generated from renewable sources by 2029. That seems ambitious but it is necessary in order for Barbados to help reduce CO2 emissions and help prevent global warming and rises in sea-levels etc.

Barbados Light & Power (BL&P) has been running a pilot study on renewable energy generation for the last couple of years. Under the pilot scheme consumers could install a photo-voltaic panel or wind-power system and get paid for power fed back into the grid.

The Fair Trading Commission has a consultation paper out on the results from the pilot study and the arrangements for the future including what BL&P should pay us for the electricity we generate from renewable systems.

During the two year period of the pilot scheme only 25 customers joined up. That is a tiny percentage of the number of BL&P customers and the response has to call into question the attractiveness of the scheme. If the terms are not made more attractive the Government’s 29% goal would have to be called into question.

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LIME Experiencing Problems At The Border Gateway

LIME experiencing Gateway problems

BU understands that Cable & Wireless is currently experiencing serious Internet networking issues. According to a BU family member the problem is complicated to explain in layman terms but involves something called Border Gateway Protocol (BGP). This is a protocol used by big Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and carriers to exchange routing information between each other.

To translate: several Internet services currently cannot reach Barbados LIME customers. LIME has been experiencing the problem since 13.07.2012 and  it may not be resolved for a few more days. Without an active Fair Trading Commission and Consumer organization the Barbados public is left to ferret information based on the effort of a few good souls.

We also take this opportunity to highlight the recent offer by LIME to double the ADSL bandwidth of customers. Customers should be aware that at the end of the offer is a caveat. If you do not respond to LIME to say you refuse the service your ADSL billing will be increased! It is not free!

Residential
  • 1 goes to Up to 2mbps
  • 1.5 goes to Up to 4mbps (3 month trial, at the end of which, the customer must opt out or will be billed at the new 4mbps rate).
  • 2 goes to Up to 4mbps
Business 
  • 2 goes to Up to 4Mbps
  • 4 goes to Up to 8Mbps
  • 6 goes to Up to 12Mbps

LIME Defines Corporate Greed

Alex McDonald – LIME Official

In a Press release issued yesterday, LIME announced “all post-paid mobile customers completing data streaming, browsing, tethering and downloading of documents, games and any other transactions which go via the WAP (Wireless Access Protocol) and/or Internet Gateways on the LIME data network will be billed”.

Nation Newspaper – 4/5/2012

Barbados Underground agrees with the decision by LIME’s management to increase mobile rates effective July 1, 2012. Today many Barbadians have been demonstrating outrage via the various media channels at what they believe is the obtuse manner LIME has unleashed its new pricing plan.  BU would venture the opinion that LIME has made its decision full in the knowledge that Barbadians will ‘keep noise’ but continue to subscribe to their services. Truth be told BU can’t wait until the next increase.

LIME prides itself on being a good corporate citizen although BU recalls that it was one of the first companies in Barbados at the onset of the global recession to retrench staff. It should come as no surprise after the recent settlement of the collective bargaining agreement with the Barbados Workers Union that LIME would seek to find ways to boost its revenue position.  It now has three quarters to get the job done.

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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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I Have Had It With The Barbados Light & Power Company

Extracted from the Facebook Page of Rosemary Parkinson. This blog was forwarded to Miles Howe, a Canadian journalist at the Halifax Media Group doing some good work to keep EMERA ‘honest’.

New Managing Director, Mark King

Many of you might remember the tirade I did on BARBADOS *NOT REALLY ANYMORE* LIGHT & POWER a few months ago. And how far dat little diatribe went. From Facebook to Barbados Underground to Brass Tacks et al. Remember you sent your CEO to me? Remember I posted what I would still consider to be answers that only Dale Carnegie would have had the balls to write about in his now so very famous book “How to win friends and influence (really meaning fool) people”? Well…after all dat episode our billl went back down to high but hello I understand the cost of living an’ all de ress of it and it still did not make me happy but it was manageable. NOW THIS MONTH WE BACK UP TO WHERE I BELLOWED AND I GINE BELLOW EVEN LOUDER NOW ‘CAUSE NOW I KNOW YOU RIPPING OFF CERTAIN PEOPLE WITHOUT A DOUBT!!!!

This last month’s bill is so raas high I gine have myself a heart attack together with my landlady nexx door….we done both sick already with chess cold. And her mother done spend a week almost in horspital so she was saving electricals at home. But dis’ month’s bill 20th November to 21st. December gone from the usual $600/700 a month now back up to $1200!!!!

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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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Facebook Group Reacts To LIME’s Announcement To Hike Landline Rate

From the Facebook Page of SURVIVING OUR HARSH ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT: written in response to the recent announcement that LIME will be increasing rate on basic landline service from October 2011

Dear Mr. Alex W. McDonald:

I would like to express my strong objection to LIME’s proposed land-line rate hike. Frankly speaking, I find it repulsive and abominable, that your company has chosen to burden the general public of Barbados, at this time, with such an increase.

LIME’s ghastly action should be juxtaposed against the fact that a significant percentage of your patronage/ customers are currently having great challenges purchasing food and other basic necessities for his/ her family. You company’s action is unconscionable and clearly demonstrates that you are obviously devoid of a social conscience.

I am hereby calling on your company to immediately reverse its decision to implement your proposed land-line rate increase. Furthermore, I do think that you and LIME needs to sincerely and unequivocally apologize to the Barbadian public for the stress that you have caused them to experience, since you and LIME announced your proposed rate increase.

Sincerely,
C. Malcolm Grant
Face Book Group
SURVIVING OUR HARSH ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT