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Going up

Managing Director of the Barbados Light & Power Holdings, Peter Williams

Barbadians can expect to pay higher light bills soon.

Managing Director of the Barbados Light & Power Holdings, Peter Williams, told reporters this afternoon that he had been monitoring, with anxiety, a sudden and dramatic rise in prices of oil on the world market, which could impact the fuel charge component of local electricity bills.

“Where we are now, we are very vulnerable to all the volatility in the oil market. I watch those prices daily, and sometimes almost with a great deal of anxiety because they are climbing again. Brent Oil and West Texas, some of the benchmarks for the world oil, have started to go up again,” Williams pointed out during the break in a Caribbean Electric Services Corporation Regulatory Forum at the Caribbean Development Bank’s Wildey headquarters.

“I think,” he added, “we need to get away from that volatity and get to price stability.”

Asked if efforts at renewable energy would result in lowering costs to consumers, the BL&P boss responded: “There is a challenge in terms of lowering

costs, but I would certainly say, bring price stability. Part of the issue is that renewable energy, including solar voltaic, solar pv, prices are still high, but once you have installed it, you have a certainty in terms of the price. You have paid for the equipment and you have certainty.”

However, Williams said he did not think the island would see a sudden and dramatic drop in prices. “As you are aware, we are trying to secure a

method and approach to importation of natural gas to Barbados; and I also know that’s on the agenda for other Caribbean countries. Time will tell how that will benefit Caribbean consumers and the extent to which energy prices will be reduced. It’s not a sudden jump, it has just started to climb back up,” explained the utility company executive.

He said that as oil prices changed, so too would the price of electricity in Barbados.

“We have seen oil prices very high in 2008 and I would hope we don’t return to that price level,” Williams declared.

The BL&P Holdings head revealed that negotiations were ongoing with a view to securing a lease of land in St. Lucy for the construction of a wind farm that would generate electricity. If the project is successful, it would be one “small” part by his company to add to the alternative energy prospects for Barbados.

Williams disclosed that the company was also exploring a biomas energy project in collaboration with the Government. (EJ)

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