Submitted by St George’s Dragon
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.
I do not believe BL&P’s proposed future arrangements are in favour of the consumer / generator for the following reasons:
Proposed payment for generated power – BL&P suggests that payment is reduced by over 10%. Rates should actually be increased to attract more investment.
Payment continues to be based on the Fuel Clause Adjustment – BL&P wants to continue to pay us based on the cost they avoid in fuel. While that may represent what they save it is not a reasonable basis for payment for power generated from a fixed, relatively high capital cost system. If fuel costs go down that should not reduce rates paid for power from a consumer / generator when the cost of financing the system is the same. BL&P has a guaranteed return on investment of 10%. In order to attract investment in renewable energy, the consumer / generator should have the same guarantee.
Stick with a multiplier on fuel cost but fix a “floor” rate so consumer / generators can see a reasonable payback period.
Pay consumer / generators a multiplier based on BL&P’s standard customer charge, before the fuel clause adjustment. That would establish a more stable a relationship with BL&P’s costs.
Pay for generated power in arrears – BL&P wants to continue paying for your generated power twice a year in June and December (but only if they owe you more than $500). This is unacceptable. If BL&P can charge us on time for the power we use on a monthly basis, they clearly have the systems in place to allow them to repay us for our renewable energy generated on a similar monthly baisis. Why should they earn interest on our money?
The closing date for responses to the FTC on this consultation is 14 December – so Friday this week.
If you agree with any or all of the above please feel free to copy and paste from this post and email them to the FTC at email@example.com.