Two major projects aimed at modernising the island’s electricity sector are nearing completion.
The Barbados Light & Power Company Ltd. (BLPC) has announced that its Advanced Metering Infrastructure project is just over 95 per cent complete. This is an integrated system of smart meters, communications networks and data management systems that will enable two-way communication between the utility company and its customers.
Officially started in 2016 following a pilot, the estimated $43 million initiative forms part of the company’s grid modernisation programme. It was expected that some 130 000 meters would be changed.
BLPC’s Director of Asset Management Rohan Seale said it was back in 2013 that the company recognised the need for the change.
“So far, we have changed out about 125 000 of those meters and we are in the process of focusing mainly on those commercial enterprises, industrial and large customers to change their meters. This is all with regard to facilitating the smart grid in the future,” Seale told a recent teleconference.
He said the new systems should help customers better manage their energy consumption and the company with its meter reading remotely.
“It also enables us to be able to offer a new service like prepaid billing and time of use rates for customers in the future,” added Seale.
Meanwhile, Managing Director of the BLPC Roger Blackman said the LED Retrofit Street Light Project was also nearing completion.
This was introduced in 2013 to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy use in the public sector, and was ramped up in May last year with the hope of replacing 85 per cent or just over 27 200 of the island’s high-pressure sodium street lights with LED ones. It is being carried out in conjunction with the Ministry of Energy as part of Government’s public sector smart energy programme, Caribbean LED Lighting and the BLPC.
Six contractors, who have been trained in several areas including safety and streetlight maintenance, are involved in the project.
“At present, we are about 90 per cent complete and the island would already be seeing savings from the project because, of course, those streetlights are more efficient and reliable and require less maintenance,”
Blackman reported, adding that he was anticipating completion of the project by year end.
He said the new energy efficient lights should help to enhance safety.
Officials were not in a position to say exactly what the level of savings was so far, but explained that the output of energy wattage would be cut by about half, resulting in potential savings of between 40 per cent to 50 per cent on the streetlight electricity bill for Government.
The cost of this project is estimated at around $12 million. It is being financed by the Inter-American Development Bank.