Delayed by seven months as a courtesy to those going through the hardship of the Covid-19 lockdown, an increase of 6.6 per cent will be put on all CUC customer bills from the beginning of 2021. CUC advised that the increase was first approved and scheduled to take effect from 1st June 2020, but the company decided to defer the rate increase until the new year. Now, CUC said it would start to recoup losses, which will be recovered within two years from the start of this year until 31st December 2022.
Beginning January 2021 (with bills to be received in early February), customers can expect a “marginal increase” in the energy charge component of their bills when compared to rates seen in 2020, CUC said. In other words, the base rate adjustment would result in a total monthly bill increase of around $5.26 for the residential customer who uses approximately 500 kilowatt hours per month. The portion representing the 6.6 per cent base rate adjustment would be $3.96 and the Covid-19 recovery cost represents $1.30. This base rate increase did not impact the fuel cost charge, they explained.
President and CEO of CUC, Richard Hew, said that during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, CUC made the submission to the regulator to delay the June 2020 rate increase.
“We were well aware of the hardships facing many of our customers at the time,” he explained. “However, it is now critical for the Company to recoup these costs in order to maintain the financial stability of the Company as well as continue to meet the Company’s ongoing obligations to invest in infrastructure and provide a safe, reliable and sustainable electricity service.”
Mr Hew went on to say that CUC’s financial health played an important role in keeping electricity rates as low as reasonably possible in subsequent annual rate adjustments. In 2019, the company spent US$60.6M in capital expenditure to ensure its infrastructure was expanded and upgraded to meet the reliability and efficiency performance expected from its customers.
CUC stopped disconnections and waived payments during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and had continued to assist those customers who had been struggling to pay their bills by offering extended payment plans as well as pre-payment options, CUC said.
At the same time as they announced the hike in bills, CUC also announced that the Board was issuing a dividend of US$0.175 per Class A Ordinary Share, or an annualised dividend of US$0.70 per share, payable on 15th March, 2021 to shareholders of record on 1st March 1, 2021.