CUC earnings jump 17.2 percent in Q1

Grand Cayman’s sole electricity provider has reported a jump in net earnings of 17.2 percent to $3.4 million, thanks to higher weather temperatures and more customers.

The first-quarter report from the Caribbean Utilities Company shows sales reached 130.7 million kilowatt hours, an increase of 4 percent compared to last year. The report found the increase was a result of additional air-conditioning use following higher temperatures with the average monthly temperature reaching 80 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to the average of 79.3 degrees in the same quarter last year.

CUC reported an increase in customers of 1.3 percent to 27,438 compared to 27,086 customers for the same period last year, and listed its capital expenditures at $6.5 million.

The company also reported earnings on Class A Ordinary shares totaling $3.3 million, up from $2.8 million last year – an increase to $0.11 per share.

President and CEO Richard Hew said the company continued to invest in infrastructure required to meet current and future demand, while controlling operating expenditures.

“CUC believes there are economic and environmental benefits from engaging renewable energy sources to displace some of the diesel fuel that our generators presently consume. Wind and solar are non-firm power and will need to be supported by firm power sources such as diesel generation,” Mr. Hew said.

The Electricity Regulatory Authority, which canceled the solicitation process for firm generation last year, has restarted the process. Bids are due this month and once a firm is selected it is expected to provide 36 megawatts of firm capacity by June 2016.

The regulatory authority and power company have agreed to a temporary generation plan that will allow CUC to meet the expected reserve margin requirements for peak periods. The company has secured a rental supply of around 7.5 MW of “mobile generation” for summer and has also initiated a technical interconnection study for one of two proposed large-scaled solar energy projects.

Mobile generation are small and temporary generating units that produce around 2 MW of power. The units are used to ensure an ongoing reliability of electricity services during peak periods.

By the end of 2015, the company aims to connect 13 MW of renewable energy capacity from developers who will finance, construct, own and operate such facilities.

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