Electrical bills to increase for 20% of Saban consumers

Roughly 20 per cent of electricity consumers on Saba will see an increase on their electrical bill per July 1, as a result of an increase in tariffs.

In a town hall meeting on May 16, the Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) and the Saba Electric Company explained the new tariff structure. In this new billing system there will be a fixed distribution tariff per month, which will cover the fixed cost of Saba Electric Company (SEC); production costs and the net losses.

Rates will be determined by the size of a connection, which depends on the size of the necessary fuse. According to SEC, 80 percent of the population use 7.7 kilovolt-amp (Kva). For consumers in this category, as a result of the distribution cost being partially subsidized by the Dutch government, they will not feel an increase. However the commercial sector will endure the most cost adjustments. There is no subsidy available for this group.

Subsidy not definite
The ACM representatives informed that it was seeking a solution before July 1 for particularly the 20 percent of consumers who will require higher Kva. ACM will attempt to make the consequential costs less burdensome for consumers in this group. This is why ACM has not set the maximum tariff.

On the flip side according to ACM Representative Marga Buys, every year the Dutch government will decide on the subsidy amount and every year the tariffs will change. Residents in attendance of the town hall meeting expressed their concern for this strategy. Residents may become comfortable paying a fixed rate, but in year this rate could increase.

Solutions
Within the next two weeks consumers will know which group they fall in. If a consumer is not in agreement with SEC’s recommended package they can request a test be done to determine if they can qualify for a downgrade, however a small fee will be charged for this.

Moreover Buys noted that the variable tariff will decrease when the solar panel parks are completed and functioning. At the moment one solar panel park is under construction. This project is being funded by the Dutch government.

Moreover Buys noted that the variable tariff will decrease when the solar panel parks are completed and functioning. At the moment one solar panel park is under construction. This project is being funded by the Dutch government.

In the new structure, it will be possible to generate electricity locally. Customers that have renewable energy will first need to apply for a special connection to the grid, which will  have a connection fee. This will work as follows:

There will be 2 registers on the meter:

  • Register 1: This register measures the electricity consumed.
  • Register 2: This register measures the renewable energy that is not used and is fed back into the grid.

Energy fed back into the grid will be Compensated:

  • Domestic: $0.05 per kwh
  • Commercial: $0.01 per kwh

Mr Mark Zagers of SEC has compiled a presentation explaining the new tariff structure. You can view this online HERE

Source: Caribbean Network

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