#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – Wednesday July 11, 2018 – Lingering adversity caused by the catastrophic 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season will likely result in an increase in electricity bills for Turks and Caicos consumers; FortisTCI CEO and President today announced that an application requesting the rise has been filed with Government.
Approval will result in an immediate change in power bills.
“Today FortisTCI filed a rate variation application under Section 34 of the Electricity Ordinance. The application proposes an average rate of 6.8 percent increase. Residential customers with an average monthly consumption of 500 k/w hours would see an increase of approximately $8 per month on their electricity bills,” said Eddinton Powell, FortisTCI CEO.
Ten months following the double whammy of Hurricanes Irma and Maria – two of the costliest and deadliest storms of 2017 – the Turks and Caicos is still reeling from the effects of the major hurricanes and it may mean a 6.8% hike in power bills. The request has to first be approved.
“The application seeks to restore the company’s financial position which was weakened by the cost of restoration of electricity following Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The total impact directly attributable to the hurricanes is $42 million.”
Record response to the nationwide loss of electricity in Category 5 hurricane Irma alone was expensive explained Powell when media quizzed him about the need for the hike and how long the increase would be imposed upon consumers. Mr. Powell assured, FortisTCI was not trying to recapture earnings lost during the recovery period.
“…It’s not just to recover per say the cost of electricity which we expect to recover over a long period of time, we don’t want to increase the rate to a certain extent where we percent to our customers a rate shock that would be too expensive, we want to gradually increase… to restore the company to a sound financial position.”
Mr. Powell said the company has made a case for the increase request, permitted by law and expects incremental recuperation. Mr. Powell corrected public assumption that FortisInc paid for the restoration; explaining that FortisTCI covered the cost in full.
“We had to pay and we had to borrow the money, finance that restoration and the restoration is paid for – past tense – paid for in full. Now, what we are trying to do with this application is to restore the company to strong financial health,” explained Mr. Powell in that media debriefing today. The CEO agreed that the hurricanes weakened the company’s financial soundness, “…the cost of the restoration, the loss revenues, the write off of assets all of those things contributed to the weakening of the company’s financial position.”
The CEO, flanked by company executives at FortisTCI Leeward Highway headquarters added that there is going to be opportunity for residents to learn more and vocalise their thoughts about the application for the increase. Mr. Powell shared that initiatives of FortisTCI will eventually result in lower power bills.
“Through more solar penetration in the system, through the possibility, the very good possibility of liquefied natural gas (LNG), that is the increase of fuel mix on the system away from diesel more towards LNG, more towards solar energy. I am convinced that all of those things if managed properly and executed properly by the Government and the company can result in the future in lower energy costs to the Turks and Caicos which we have an interest in doing.”
The goal of FortisTCI, shared the CEO, is to return to a stable financial position. Mr. Powell characterized their request as both ‘reasonable and warranted’.
Once approved, the electricity rate increase will take immediate effect.