FTC’s ROLE MAY BE REVIEWED

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Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Senator Darcy Boyce

The role of the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) is likely to be reviewed and expanded to deal with pricing of electrical power from independent power suppliers.

This was revealed today by Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Senator Darcy Boyce, as he delivered the feature address at the second meeting of experts and stakeholders concerning the development of harmonised legislation for the reform of the electricity sector at the Amaryllis Hotel.

According to Senator Boyce, this amendment to the FTC’s role would be necessary because the Barbados Light and Power (BL&P) had a licence for distribution, but not for power generation. He said, however, that as Barbados moved towards the wider use of alternative sources of energy, such as solar energy, arrangements would have to be put in place to allow the BL&P to purchase that power.  

The Minister stressed that government’s energy policy would be very focussed on protecting the environment in active ways, in terms of using the renewable energy sources where there was a net benefit to the environment.

He said they would also make sure that energy producers did not contaminate the environment while doing so, and if they did contaminate it, that they would clean up afterwards.

“Damage to one of our countries may not be seen by the international community as damage to that country alone. It may probably be seen as environmental contamination in the whole region and, therefore, all of us become at risk if we do not seek to make sure that each one of us treats contamination in an equally rigorous manner,” Senator Boyce stated.

The Minister told participants that in order to have a conservation plan which was focussed, it must have people working on real practical ways to reduce the use of energy in their operations: “We need to understand how our economy is using energy, sector by sector, and industry by industry,” he stressed.

Suggesting that experts and stakeholders across the region should collaborate and look at the energy co-efficients in the various industries, he said: “We do not know if we are shooting in the dark on these matters, we need to stop doing that.”

Senator Boyce also mentioned several concerns related to the electricity sector, including reducing this country’s foreign exchange usage, reducing the vulnerability of the country to supply shocks, ensuring that there was efficiency in the use of electricity by businesses and households and efficiency in the use of energy by those who produce electrical power.

“Therefore, we have got some work started already on our energy conservation plan and once we’ve had time to review it … that will come to Cabinet for approval because we know that we need to reduce the cost of energy per dollar,” he stated.

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