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BL&P monopoly: ‘Breaking up is hard to do’

by Barbados Today
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Bishop Joseph Atherley

Opposition  Bishop Leader Joseph Atherley today warned Government of serious challenges ahead to the break-up the near 120-year-old electricity supply monopoly by the Barbados Light & Power Company Limited.

He told the House of Assembly: “BL&P has about nine years left on its licence and if Government is serious about its 2030 agenda with respect to renewable energy then that has implications for the BL&P investment.

“And if dismantling of the monopoly is seriously intended that has implications for BL&P existing infrastructural development and any further infrastructural development likely to take place over the next five, six, seven years.

Atherley continued: “The reality of that question with which we are confronted is, is there the likelihood, and it is implied, that there would be an accelerated programme for depreciation of rates with respect to their existing investment.

“And what does that mean for consumers of energy in Barbados at this time?”

The MP for St Michael West reminded lawmakers that there were lessons to be learned from the on-going process of breaking up the telecommunications monopoly.

Atherley said: “There will inevitably be tensions arising from those considerations which relate to the conventional energy supply structures and the renewable energy platforms that will have to be called into being.

“We saw this with reference to the dismantling of the telecommunications monopoly in fact we saw it and we are still seeing it.

“That there are some tensions around those considerations which relate to the existing infrastructural architecture of the now existing creature and those structures and platforms which will be called into being to facilitate the new creature we are trying to call into existence.”

He warned Government that only the  way to ensure that they acted in the interests of all parties involved was through “prudent management”.

The Leader of the Opposition added: “Those things can’t be wished away. They have to be managed away.

“If both the entities’ interest are to be served and the interest of the consuming public and the interest of the emerging class of new entrepreneurs on the new sector then those tensions have to be properly managed,” Atherley said.

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