Two weeks after announcing higher sales and earnings, Caribbean Utilities Company has declared a dividend of US$0.175 per Class A Ordinary Share, or an annualised dividend of $0.70 per share.

The dividend will be payable on 15 Sept. to shareholders of record on 1 Sept.

CUC’s financial results for the second quarter and first half of 2021 reflected the reopening of businesses and economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as an increase in customers.

In the second quarter, the utility company’s operating income of $8.9 million was $3.3 million higher than during the same period in 2020.

This increase resulted from higher electricity sales revenues and lower depreciation, maintenance, and consumer services expenses.

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Net earnings for the second quarter totalled $8.6 million, an increase of $4.1 million year on year, due to lower financing charges.

Richard Hew, CUC president and CEO, said in a press release announcing the results, “Grand Cayman’s economy continues to improve as reflected in the Second Quarter year over year increase in kilowatt hour (kWh) sales and a peak demand of 111.2 megawatts (“MW”), which is approaching the record peak of 113.5 MW set in August 2019.”

A further improvement in the economy and the recovery of electricity sales beyond 2019 levels depends on the successful phased reopening of the tourism industry in September through November 2021, he added. However, this remains contingent on the islands reaching an 80% full vaccination rate.

Sales for the three months ending 30 June increased by 5.3 million kWh to 170.8 million kWh. During the same period last year many businesses remained closed during the lockdown, suppressing the electricity consumption of large and commercial customers.

However, during the first six months of this year electricity sales were down by 3.3 million kWh at 314.6 million kWh compared to 2020.

The number of CUC customers in the second quarter increased by 1,015, or 3%, to 31,719.

Hew advised customers to conserve energy during the summer months to avoid higher electricity bills.

“It is summertime and with children out of school and at home for long periods of time during the day, customers are using more electricity for air conditioning,” he said. “Global fuel costs are also trending upwards, and as such we remind our customers to monitor and manage their electricity consumption to reduce costs using the smart meter consumption data and energy efficiency tips available on CUC’s website.”

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