A disservice to Cayman

In my opinion, the ERA has done a tremendous disservice to the people of the Cayman Islands.

If in fact this net billing agreement with CUC has been ratified by the Government, it will rank as one of the worst deals struck in the 17 years that I’ve lived in Cayman.

It will not encourage renewable energy development on island and it does not pay customers for energy they produce. It only provides for credits against future use. If you don’t use their dirty, diesel power at a later date, you get nothing for your clean energy or your efforts to improve the environment and reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels. It only benefits CUC because they can sell at retail – energy that they didn’t produce and have paid nothing for.

What kind of a deal is that? No wonder CUC is happy to announce this agreement.

As a member of the non-profit Cayman Institute, we discussed with Government the changes required in the CUC license agreement, the Electricity Law and its regulations to promote renewable energy use in these islands and the benefits that would come to all by doing so. We specifically spoke of net-metering and not net-billing. It appears that they either forgot everything that was presented to them or that they may be shareholders in CUC and were merely paying us lip service at the time.

In other municipalities the energy utilities have embraced renewable energy and promoted it effectively with both net-metering and conversion of their own systems to make use of renewable resources. It appears that CUC has done neither but has chosen instead, to squeeze the last pennies it can get out of our economy.

The 10kW limitation allowed in their plan is ridiculous because the people that want grid independent systems the most, are consuming more than this limit will allow. My wife and I built our new renewable energy home to ensure that we could run everything, including our air conditioning, and now cannot apply to be a part of the CORE programme because our home has a 16kW system. Brilliant CUC! Once again a stroke of genius by their executives. They know how to maximize shareholder benefits at the expense of cleaner air, water and lower carbon output for this country. By creating this limit, they insure that most people will need to continue using them or be held hostage by them is more like it.

This reminds me of a movie quote where a man asked the owner of the largest buggy whip company, how he felt as he saw the first automobiles driving down the road. CUC has 100 per cent of the market share on electricity today but I assure you that this island will be using renewables soon enough and I and others like me are going to help it happen with or without CUC or this ERA.

Needless to say, I am very unhappy with the ERA. This action shows that it is either completely uninformed about how grid tie systems work, the world around, or that they just don’t care. In either case it an embarrassment to our country.

Jim Knapp