In anticipation of the sharp increases in electricity costs due to rising global fuel prices, in May the Cayman Islands Government approached Caribbean Utilities Company (CUC) to identify ways to provide meaningful assistance to residential customers. Since then, Government has been in discussions with CUC and Cayman Brac Power and Light (CBPL) to find ways to help residents to save on their electricity bills.
“Like CUC and CBPL, Government has been monitoring the fuel market and anticipated significant fuel price increases,” said Premier Hon. G. Wayne Panton. “In the past year external factors like the war in Ukraine and supply chain shortages have made everything more expensive. The result is volatility in the commodity prices and an increase in the price of oil, diesel, gasoline which has resulted in an increase in the cost of electricity.”
“The temporary Government assistance will be in the form of credit applied to help contain eligible customers’ fuel cost to an effective rate of $0.15 per kilowatt hour (kWh) regardless of how high the price of fuel gets. This assistance provides cost relief and certainty to eligible customers during the three hottest months of the year,” he said.
CUC said that an increase will be reflected in July fuel costs, which will be billed in August. Those bills will reflect a fuel charge of CI 20-cents per kWh, which is 4-cents higher than last month. The higher costs kicked in today, 1 July.
The Government assistance programme will offer a fuel cost credit for residential customers who have monthly consumption between 101 kWh and 2,000 kWh. No matter how much higher the fuel costs go above $.015/kWh this summer, Government will absorb the difference. For eligible households, electricity customers can expect to see the Government assistance credit of up to $100 off their bill depending on their consumption. Residential customers with usage greater than 2,000 kWh per month and lower than 101 kWh will not qualify for the programme.
President and CEO of CUC, Mr. Richard Hew, said, “CUC welcomes this arrangement, which has been put in place by the Government of the Cayman Islands. High fuel prices are impacting energy consumers globally and it is beyond the control of CUC, Government or customers. This action by the Government will bring needed relief to those persons who qualify for this programme.”
The Government assistance credit will automatically be added to the bill through the CUC and CBPL billing systems. The savings will vary by consumption, but it will assist approximately 80 per cent of CUC’s residential customers on Grand Cayman and almost 90 per cent of all residential customers in the Sister Islands with a lower utility bill for hottest three months of summer.
“I encourage all residential consumers to check your electricity bills and if you typically consume more than 2,000 kWh per month, this is your chance to make changes now, and start lowering your monthly consumption so that you too come in under 2,000 kWh and benefit from the savings.” said Mr. Panton.
“As I said from the floor of Parliament a few weeks ago, we are living through challenging circumstances. There is uncertainty all around us. We are a people-driven Government and well positioned to help our people navigate the tough times ahead. We are doing our best to be prepared to handle the turbulence that might lie ahead, whether that comes from an extreme weather event like a hurricane, or comes from global economic forces like spiking fuel prices, rising inflation and climbing interest rates,” he said.
The credit from the programme applies to energy consumed in July, August and September and billed in August, September and October. Eligible pre-pay customers will receive a credit at the beginning of the following month.