Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation

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Dominica: New initiative to deal with blackouts

October 3, 2023

CMC – Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit Tuesday said that the Dominica Electricity Services Company (DOMLEC) is to rent three megawatt generating systems from a US-based firm that when commissioned on November 15, will end the load shedding situation on the island.

In a statement, Skerrit said that as a result of acquiring the system, full capacity is expected to be restored and load shedding is projected to be eliminated.

”We have been advised by both DOMLEC and the Independent Regulatory Commission (IRC) that the purchase of additional generators by DOMLEC to address the generation shortfall would result in an increase in price to consumers.”

But Skerrit, who told the population “I feel your pain and I share your disgust,” said to protect the Dominican consumer from this projected price hike, his administration has commenced the procurement of a new 5.2MW medium-speed generator for lease to DOMLEC on favourable terms.

“This unit is projected to remain in service for two years in the first instance. The projected date for commissioning, as advised by DOMLEC, is April 2024. So we are doing all we can, while still minimizing the impact of increasing expenditures on the consumer,” Skerrit said, adding that a number of Caribbean countries are currently facing similar challenges in meeting their electricity demands.

He said DOMLEC cannot simply go out and enter into debt, adding that such debt must be assessed and the means and mode of repayment approved by a regulatory body.

“The only way to not pass on increased costs to the public is to not acquire certain types of medium and long-term debt. Others would say this more technically, but I am a lay person and so are the vast majority of persons listening to this broadcast.”

“So let’s sum it all up by saying that the government has found a way to help support generation and access to the supply of electricity that is needed to match current demand, without being forced, by law, to pass such increases on to you, the consumer, whom we know cannot bear such at this time.”

“You have suffered enough with these blackouts in this period of unstable and unreliable service. So, we are pressing ahead.”

Skerrit said that as the majority shareholder of DOMLEC, the government is fully cognisant of its responsibility to take a lead role in solving what he described as “this troublesome issue”.

“We recognise and regret the inconvenience of all this to individuals as well as to the business community. The government itself is a victim of the episode as productivity levels would naturally have fallen and we anticipate a negative impact on revenues.”

“So we are all in this together. But I wanted to say to you today, that relief is on the way,” Skerrit told the nation, adding that short, medium, and long-term approaches have been identified.

“In under two weeks, significant improvements will be seen. In just over a month, the situation should have been overhauled and rectified completely. This is the assurance the government has been given and this is the standard to which we shall hold DOMLEC,” Skerrit added.

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