Monday, April 22, 2024

Power costs a concern for BICO


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BICO LIMITED and other big users of electricity are willing to reduce their full reliance on self-generation to include a supply from the Barbados Light & Power Company Limited (BL&P), but they need a more meaningful incentive to do so.
BICO executive chairman Edwin Thirlwell, reporting that the ice cream company was about to add “another 182-kilowatt system” to its plant, was hopeful that the Fair Trading Commission would “sanction” a more affordable “time of use tariff” for the “six or eight” large users of electricity now generating their own power.
The official said this was crucial because of a desire to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels coupled with an insufficient supply of natural gas in Barbados for “the large user”, adding that “it is still cheaper to generate our own power than it is to buy from [Barbados] Light & Power”.
Thirlwell made his concerns known while updating the media on BICO’s improved financial performance, pointing out that a reliable supply was important because otherwise it could be “disastrous” for the company’s commercial cold storage facility at Harbour Industrial Park.
“Over night we would dearly love to be switching to [Barbados] Light & Power, but strangely their time of use tariff is still more expensive than running our own generator. So at the next round of negotiations with the Fair Trading Commission, we are hoping that they will sanction a rate that will make it possible for . . . six or eight people who generate our own power [to use BL&P]. So it’s a win-win situation if we can get the price right there,” he said.
“That would mean that we would switch off the generator at night and we would switch it on the next morning . . . . In other words, it’s a benefit to them [BL&P]; we would take up the slack and we would rest the generator and we would gradually get [to] where we would be less dependent on the generating.”
While noting that BICO’s renewable energy thrust “so far . . . hasn’t made a big difference”, Thirlwell said there was some positive impact, including reduced fuel bills because of the use of three electric cars.
“We have the pilot photovoltaic system on the new building that we built. We are just about to embark on another 182-kilowatt system for the roof of the new factory. That will be done by Emera, which as you know is the parent company of [Barbados] Light & Power, and we will be funding that by way of a loan from the Smart Fund . . . any time now,” he also noted.
“. . . The object of the exercise, of course, is that we will be very much less reliant on fossil fuels than we are at the moment.” (SC)


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