Caribbean Utilities Company Ltd. has announced an increase in third quarter net earnings of $0.2 million to $6.2 million over the same period last year due to higher electricity sales revenues, lower finance charges and higher other income.
These items were partially offset by higher consumer service and transmission and distribution costs. Net earnings for the first nine months in 2014 totaled $15.4 million, an increase of $0.7 million year-on-year.
Warmer weather and an increase in the number of customers boosted third quarter electricity sales by about 5 percent compared to the same period last year.
The number of customers increased by 384, or 1 percent, to 27,560.
President and CEO Richard Hew said the company continues to focus on managing costs and improving efficiencies. “As the local economy continues to emerge from the recent recession, the company stands ready to meet the demands of any accompanying growth in our customer base,” he said.
In the third quarter, CUC capital expenditures totaled $7.1 million
In October 2014, CUC won a bid to develop and operate a new 39.7 megawatts diesel power plant, including a 2.7 MW waste heat recovery steam turbine. The project cost is estimated at $85 million and the plant will be commissioned no later than June 2016.
This project will require a significant, long-term financial undertaking by CUC, the company said.
CUC is preparing to sign agreements with its equipment provider MAN Diesel & Turbo of Augsburg, Germany, and the primary construction contractor BWSC of Denmark, to build and commission the new power plant.
CUC said it also continues to explore large-scale alternative energy options. During the third quarter, one renewable energy provider which is currently in discussions with CUC applied for planning permission to start the development of a 5 MW solar power plant. It is anticipated that the output from this renewable energy project will be available to the CUC in 2016 and that renewable energy sources will replace some of the diesel fuel currently used by diesel generators.