Expect fuel surcharge spike: Vinlec CEO
January 24, 2014

Expect fuel surcharge spike: Vinlec CEO

In the absence of VINLEC’s flood-damaged hydroelecticity plants, Vincentians should expect their fuel surcharge to be higher than usual, VINLEC’s CEO Thornley Myers warned at a press conference Wednesday.{{more}}

Extensive damage caused by the floods last Christmas Eve put the country’s three hydroelectricity plants out of commission.

Myers explained that VINLEC has been using fuel to make up lost capacity and as a result, customers will observe a change in fuel surcharge on their utility bill.

“As we get our electricity bill in the upcoming days, we’ll be asking the question what has happened to our fuel surcharge and I’ll say, part of what is happening to your fuel surcharge is as a result of what happened on the 24th of December,” the CEO said.

“So I’m saying, the lack of production or the inoperability of our hydroplants [is] going to impact every single Vincentian over the next several months, perhaps up to a year because we anticipate that it’s going to take us perhaps up to a year to get all our hydroelectricity facilities back in full operational state.”

Myers pointed out that the existence of these hydroelectricity plants saves St Vincent and the Grenadines approximately 1.3 million dollars per year.

He added that when electricity is generated hydroelectrically, it can save the country anywhere between 15 and 18 million dollars in fuel cost per year.

“When I say save us in fuel cost, it is that production from our hydroelectricity plants, that essentially keeps our fuel surcharge at the level that all our customers say is already high.

“Over the upcoming months, our customers, employees and all stakeholders in St Vincent have to be aware of this fact. We at VINLEC would continue to work assiduously to get these plants up and running in the shortest possible time,” he said.

Despite working to get their plants back to an operational state, Myers stated that there is “no guarantee even with our best effort that we can get them done in the time.”

The CEO said they will be working on the plants in phases and he is hoping that they will be fully operational by this April.

Until then, Myers is urging customers to conserve electricity as much as possible.

“As we go along, the impact is not going to be severe on our customers but in the initial period here, one can expect an increase in the fuel surcharge. We are essentially alerting our customers to bear with us. This is not essentially of our making. It’s a natural disaster that is affecting the country,” he said.

“What can we do? As customers, conserve as much as we can. Do everything you could possibly do to keep your price of electricity down. Use electricity wisely.”

SVG’s hydroelectricity plants are located in South Rivers, Richmond and Cumberland and produce between 17 and 20 per cent of energy generated in the country.