CUC electricity sales, earnings decline

Caribbean Utilities Company posted net earnings of $3.3 million in the first quarter of 2021, half-a-million dollars less than during the same period last year.

CUC said the decrease was mainly due to higher general, administration and depreciation costs.

At the same time, higher electricity sales revenues and lower finance charges partially offset the cost increase.

Electricity sales revenues of $21.4 million in the first three months of 2021 were $200,000 higher year-on-year, because of the 6.6% base rate increase that took effect in June of last year.

However, electricity kilowatt hour sales declined by 6% during the period.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, first-quarter sales dropped by 8.5 million kWh to 143.8 million kWh compared to the first quarter of 2020, the company said.

President and CEO Richard Hew said he was pleased that during the first quarter there were no lost-time injuries or significant recordable safety incidents.

He said CUC was committed to the advancement of renewable energy and continued its discussions with the Utility Regulation and Competition Office to pursue a number of initiatives under the 2017 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).

“Presently there is a 5 megawatt utility scale solar plant in Bodden Town and 8.2 MW installed on customers’ premises and a further 3.4 MW under development on customers’ sites. During the most recent billing month (March 2021), these existing systems generated 3.9% of the energy consumed on Grand Cayman,” he said.

In September 2020, CUC proposed a solar plus battery storage project to OfReg that would provide 20 MW of renewable energy capacity onto the grid during the day and be capable of serving peak loads at night, Hew noted.

He said, “The cost of energy from this project would be significantly less than rooftop solar costs and current fuel factor rates and would lead to savings for customers.

“The project would provide 11% of Grand Cayman’s energy needs while reducing CO2 impacts of the sector by a corresponding amount.”

CUC has also proposed to the regulator to relocate two of the main transmission lines from overhead infrastructure to underground ducting. The primary benefits of these projects would be to add resilience to critical infrastructure, the company said.

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