Caribbean Utilities Company reported quarterly net earnings of $7.9 million for the three months ending Sept. 30, 2015, an increase of $1.7 million compared to the same period in 2014.
The increase was due to higher electricity sales revenues, lower consumer services costs, lower finance charges, and lower transmission and distribution costs, CUC said. These items were partially offset by higher depreciation and maintenance costs.
Third quarter sales totaled 160.4 million kilowatt hours, an increase of 7.2 million kWh year on year, as a result of higher commercial sales, warmer weather conditions, and higher overall customer numbers.
The company counted 28,035 customers at the end of September, 2 percent more than at the same time last year.
“I am pleased with the positive results recorded during the third quarter 2015,” said Richard Hew, CUC president and CEO. He said the company is in the process of adopting technologies that are sustainable and more environmentally friendly.
CUC spent $31.9 million in capital expenditures, more than three times the amount spent in the third quarter of 2014, mainly for the company’s new Generation Expansion Project at its North Sound Road power plant.
When the $85 million projected is completed by June 2016, the plant’s new engine room will house two 18.5 MW diesel generating units, one 2.7 MW waste heat recovery steam turbine, and associated auxiliary equipment.
CUC said significant progress is also being made in the area of renewable energy options. The company has recently completed negotiations on a power purchase agreement with Entropy Cayman Solar Ltd. that will construct a 5 MW solar photovoltaic power plant in Bodden Town. It is anticipated that the solar plant will be completed and producing electricity to the grid by October 2016.
Meanwhile, the Consumer Owned Renewable Energy program, which allows customers to connect small scale solar systems or wind turbines to CUC’s distribution system, attracted 27 additional customers during the third quarter. The total capacity approved under the CORE program is about 3.3 MW.
During the period, CUC’s customers continued to benefit from lower fuel costs, the company said, as it paid 37 percent less than last year per imperial gallon of fuel and customers were billed $0.19 per kWh, compared to $0.28 per kWh in the third quarter 2014.
CUC passes all fuel costs through to consumers on a two-month lag basis with no markup.
Residential consumers who consistently use 1,000 kWh per month would have seen their monthly bills decline by approximately $94 from the same period last year, CUC said.
The company’s board of directors declared a dividend of US$0.165 per Class A Ordinary Share, or an annualized dividend of US$0.66 per share. The dividend will be payable Dec. 15, 2015 to shareholders of record Dec. 1.