Wednesday, 9 January 2013

SALE CONFIRMED - American company to sell its shares in Grenada Electricity Services Ltd.

Light & Power Holdings of Barbados (LPH)
Managing Director, Peter Williams.

By Linda Straker

AN American company is to give up ownership of Grenada’s lone electricity company to a Canadian company, which presently owns majority shares in Light & Power Holdings of Barbados (LPH), the company which supplies electricity on the island.

The discussions between Emera Inc. and WRB Enterprises Ltd. of Tampa, Florida, to acquire WRB’s interest in Grenada Electricity Services Ltd. (GRENLEC) was announced by Energy Minister, Nazim Burke, on December 31, 2012 and confirmed via a news release, which was disseminated late last Friday.

“This confirmation follows a similar announcement regarding LPH’s intent to acquire WRB’s interest in Dominica Electricity Services (DOMLEC). Although neither transaction has been concluded, LPH and WRB are working to complete the GRENLEC and DOMLEC transactions as soon as possible,” said the statement, which was disseminated via the Barbados public relations firm, SFA Communications, on behalf of Light and Power Holdings (Barbados).

GRENLEC is the sole electric utility for the island of Grenada, serving over 44 000 customers. WRB controls 61.4 per cent of GRENLEC, with 10 per cent held by the Government of Grenada, 11.6
per cent held by the Grenada National Insurance Scheme, and the remaining 17 per cent held by Grenadians and other Caribbean nationals.

“We are committed to supporting GRENLEC in providing an efficient and reliable service to its customers and stabilising electricity rates in the face of the continued high cost of imported oil,” said LPH Managing Director, Peter Williams.

Mr. Williams further stated that “the strategy of LPH, supported by its majority shareholder, Emera Inc. of Nova Scotia, Canada, is to transform the electricity industry to cleaner forms of generation and delivery of that clean energy to the Grenadian market, consistent with the National Energy Policy of Grenada”.

“LPH is conscious of the strategic importance of GRENLEC to the economic and social development of Grenada and looks forward to developing an excellent relationship with all investors in GRENLEC and in particular the Government of Grenada and the Grenada National Insurance Scheme,” said Mr. Williams.

“We appreciate the active negotiations that have occurred with the Government of Grenada towards a Successor Agreement between the Government of Grenada and LPH, which is still to be concluded.”

Burke said that the National Democratic Congress, which co-incidentally was the ruling administration when WRB Enterprises purchased majority shares in GRENLEC, will be amending some of the terms of the previous agreement. He said that there were some problems with the old agreement and thus as a result, it was agreed that the new owner will not be privileged to some of the terms.

Among the new rules are: a new Interconnection Policy; Government’s approval for the company to own more than 50 per cent shares; and amendments to the Electricity Supply Act.

The successor agreement for example will only allow for GRENLEC to have the monopoly to produce electricity using fossil fuel for a period of 45 years, while renewable energy will be operated in a competitive environment.

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