March 11, 2008
General Manager of the Nevis Electricity Company Ltd. (NEVLEC) Mr. Cartwright Farrell said the company’s pursuits of renewable energy in collaboration with the Nevis Island Administration were in keeping with international lending agencies’ directives and urged consumers to be patient with the existing fuel surcharge.
Mr. Farrell told the Department of Information on March 11. 2008, that the company had little choice but to continue with the existing fuel surcharge once it continued to use diesel generation. He said once renewable energy came on line in 2009, as expected, the fuel surcharge would be eliminated.
“At this moment if we subsidise diesel generation by reducing or capping or eliminating the fuel surcharge while using diesel generation, it is a subsidy that is not against the standards of the world. As it is, the world is asking for us to remove them to allow geothermal, wind, solar and hydro energy all these renewable energies, to be able to compete directly against the established coal fossil fuel and nuclear generation in the world. So that is just the way to go and NEVLEC is just following that path. It is one of the stipulations of the lending agencies [including the World Bank and the] Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) that we follow that path. It is a standard that is being set around the world and we just have to follow.
“The Nevis Island Administration has partnered with West Indies Power (WIP) and Windwatt to bring geothermal and wind energy to Nevis. NEVLEC is partnering with them and assisting as much as we can. We will soon have renewable energy in Nevis. One hundred percent of the energy generated would be renewable energies so we expect to see a reduction and eventually an eradication of the fuel surcharge in Nevis,” he said.
Notwithstanding, Mr. Farrell urged consumers to be patient and to be prudent in their use of energy. He said their wait would be rewarded with cheaper energy.
“In the meantime consumers are asked to be patient and it is going to be expensive for the time being we know it is going to hurt a little bit for now but we expect it’s only a short term basis, we expect that by 2009 we will have quite a bit of renewable energy into our energy mix and the fuel surcharge will not be applied to the units that are generated from renewable energy,” he said.
The NIA had implemented a fuel surcharge in 2005 which was introduced to the business sector while it continued to subsidise the surcharge for domestic consumers. In 2008 the Administration was forced to pass on the surcharge to domestic consumers in light of the rapid increases in the price of oil on the world markets.