TCI News

TCI: “Submission to the Fortis TCI proposed rate variation inquiry”

#Providenciales, June 25, 2019 – Turks and Caicos – At this given time, I strongly oppose to Fortis electricity rate hike and here is my reasoning. Every for profit company reserves the right to increase their bottom line in every which way they can, once it’s done in a legal and ethical way. Nevertheless, there should also some consideration and empathy for the most vulnerable. 

The citizens of the Turks and Caicos islands are in a vulnerable position right now. We are suffering from some of the highest electricity prices in the world.

Post hurricane Irma and Maria, this was a missed opportunity for Fortis, one of the top 15 utilities companies in North America and the Caribbean, not to replace down power lines in select areas with underground cables. In the long term, this would have put them in a much better position to minimize future losses from natural disasters and offer consumers better rates.

While the cost per kilowatt varies by country, we in the TCI have a multi-layered electricity rate design. Residential customers pay anywhere from 29 to 43 cents per kilowatt-hour. Most developed countries are paying an average of 25 cents per kilowatt-hour while the average price people in the U.S. pay for electricity is about 12 cents per kilowatt-hour. Comparatively, this is a significant difference.

Although Fortis is diversifying its energy mix and allowing customers to connect solar PV systems to the grid, its a pretty significant start up cost for the average consumer.

With about 217 days of sunshine a year, TCI has excellent solar resources enabling solar PV plants to generate electricity at similar or less expensive costs than conventional power plants do.

Why isn’t the country as a whole harnessing this clean energy like Fortis power plant is doing in Provo?

Fortis TCI announced in 2017 that 1 MW of solar capacity is scheduled to be installed in the islands via the utility company, which would include a 700 kW array on North Caicos and 300 kW throughout the other islands.

What happened to this commitment, but yet they are seeking a rate hike?

Unless the government can get a commitment and a way forward from Fortis on these aforementioned initiatives, I strongly believe consumers are not getting a fair shake and the rate hike should be rejected.

Respectfully submitted,

Ed Forbes(Concerned citizen)

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