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OfReg gives CUC boost towards renewable future

Caribbean Utilities Company got the thumbs up for more power on Wednesday (13 February).

CUC said local utilities regulator OfReg was releasing an additional megawatt for its operations.

It comes as an extension to CUC’s Consumer Owned Renewable Energy programme or “CORE”.

It means consumers with renewable energy systems at home, like solar panels, can connect to the CUC grid to generate their own electricity.

The President and CEO of CUC Richard Hew said he anticipated “the extension to the programme will be rapidly taken up by our customers and will assist in our goal of reducing the Cayman Islands’ dependence on fossil fuels”.

 

PRESS RELEASE 13th February, 2019

OfReg releases an additional 1 MW and new rates for the Consumer Owned Renewable Energy (CORE) Programme.

The Utility Regulation and Competition Office (“OfReg”) has released the final 1 megawatt (“MW”) of capacity allocated to Caribbean Utilities Company, Ltd. (“CUC”) for the Consumer Owned Renewable Energy (CORE) programme.

The extension of the programme will continue to be limited to smaller systems of capacity with a revised tariff rate of CI$0.28 for system sizes up to 5 kilowatts (kW) and CI$0.24 for system sizes over 5 kW and up to 10 kW. As before, the size of any individual consumer system is restricted to the normal kW peak load of the consumer.

After the programme’s initial limit of 6 MW was reached in March 2017, the regulator approved an additional 2 MW to be released in two, 1 MW tranches. It was agreed then that customers would have access to only 1 MW at the time and that the second megawatt would be released following additional review, and possibly at revised feed-in tariff rates. The total capacity for the programme remains at 9 MW which includes 1 MW for Government buildings.

In an effort to further support the emerging renewable energy market and to reinforce the Government’s commitment to the Policy, OfReg had previously approved 1 MW of capacity which has been allocated to the public sector, including the central government departments, statutory authorities and government-owned companies. These entities will be offered the existing rate of CI$0.21 per kWh for capacities of 20+ to 100 kW, subject to the usual peak demand limit.

The CORE programme takes into consideration the long term goals of the National Energy Policy, the Integrated Resource Plan (“IRP”) study and the Demand Rates initiative and continues to provide incentives for consumers to generate energy from renewable sources and be compensated through stable, long-term rates. It allows customers to connect renewable energy systems, such as small scale solar systems or wind turbines to CUC’s distribution system and to reduce their monthly energy bills by generating their own electricity while remaining connected to the CUC grid.

President and Chief Executive Officer of CUC, Mr. Richard Hew, says, “The CORE programme has proven popular with both residential and commercial customers and we anticipate that the extension to the programme will be rapidly taken up by our customers and will assist in our goal of reducing the Cayman Islands’ dependence on fossil fuels. Our Company remains committed to promoting and developing renewable energy as a source of electricity generation and we believe that programmes such as CORE demonstrate that commitment.”

Large commercial customers now have access to Demand Rates which became available in 2017.

These are standard rate structures for this type of customer and is similar to what is available in most other markets. Demand rate structures allow the customer’s billing to be itemized into fixed (demand) and variable (energy) based costs. Fixed costs are largely driven by peak demand and demand rates give consumers the ability to reduce their overall electricity bill by managing their peak demand. The demand component is a proportionately larger part of the bill if the customer’s power demands are high and over a short period of time, and a smaller part of the bill if the customer uses power at a more or less constant rate throughout the month.

Demand rates are also available to any customers who wish to connect renewable energy systems outside of the CORE programme that is on the Distributed Energy Resources (“DER”), programme. Currently, there are 3 MW allocated to this programme.

Customers wishing to obtain further details or to participate in the CORE programme may contact CUC’s Customer Service Department at 949-4300.

 

About the author

Caroline James

Caroline James

Caroline joined Cayman 27 in September 2018 after seven years working for Sky News in London, both as a Producer on the World News programme and, latterly, as News Editor on the Foreign Desk, where she led coverage on the ground of stories as diverse as the 2016 US Election, corruption allegations surrounding FIFA and The Oscars. Before this, she worked as a Producer for Associated Press Television News (APTN) for two years, based in their London headquarters. Caroline graduated with a BA Hons degree in Arabic, French and German from Durham University, before gaining an MA in Television Journalism with distinction at City University, London. When not hunting down stories in Cayman, she can be found playing tennis, practicing Bikram yoga or enjoying a beer on Seven Mile Beach. You can reach Caroline at carolinejames@hurleysmedia.ky or 326-2243.

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