Lawyers for the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) are focusing attention on an interim rate relief for the Barbados Light and Power Company Limited (BL&P), as the commission awaits submissions from interveners, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Marsha Atherley-Ikechi said Monday.
“In that time we have to look at the interim rate relief question. That is something that our legal team is undertaking right now. We also have to look at the request for confidentiality. Those are the two things that are happening in that intervening period,” Atherley-Ikechi told Barbados TODAY.
The FTC chief said while the interveners have been given a deadline of December 15 to send in their objections, she did not expect them to be ready until close to the date.
“You would have realized that last week we sent out the notifications that we had received the application [from BL&P] giving the interveners until December 15 to indicate whether they would intervene or not. I do not anticipate that we will get anything until close to the date because there are a number of things they have to do to get to that point,” she said.
The commission head added: “They have to provide affidavits and the like. I do not think there are any to date, but we would have advised them they could go to the website to see the redacted version of the application that is up. It is a lot of information to go through. So I would expect that they would go through that at least partially before seeking intervener status so that they understand what they are being required to assess.”
The electric company is requesting a rate hike of 8.79 per cent which it projects will result in an overall revenue requirement of $440,240,372, an increase of $46,475,310.
The company said in its application that a continued decline in earnings would negatively impact its ability to satisfy the concerns of lenders whom BL&P would have to approach for new loans required for expansion and to execute its capital investment plan.
“BLPC must continue to invest to prevent degradation of system reliability. The rates proposed by BLPC are designed to lessen the impact on those with low levels of consumption. BLPC believes that inadequate rates and inappropriate rate structures do not benefit anyone, customers or investors and can result in significant cost to the economy through insufficient investment and resulting declines in the availability and reliability of electricity supply,” it argued.