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Barbados Light & Power Co. Ltd Rate Review - the Intervenors PDF Print

When the Barbados Light and Power Company Limited (BL&P or Applicant) applied to the Fair Trading Commission for a review of electricity rates, the Commission in addition to advising the public about the rate application invited persons who were interested in participating in the rate review process to apply to be an intervenor.

Nine intervenors have been accepted by the Commission. These include the Barbados Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (BANGO) and the Barbados Consumer Research Organisation Inc. (BARCRO), who are representing consumers in general as well as several nongovernmental organisations. Their interests relate primarily to the level of rate increases, its effects on consumers, and the overall performance and capital structure of the BL&P.

Focusing on specific interest groups are intervenors Barbados Association of Retired Persons (BARP) and Barbados Small Business Association (SBA). BARP has a membership of over 21,000 members who are over 50 years old and has indicated that its concern relates to the effect of the rate changes on senior citizens who are no longer employed and living on a pension. A large percentage of the membership of the SBA is micro business organisations who operate from their residence. The SBA is concerned with the level and allocation of the proposed rate of return for the different categories of services.

Intervenors may also be businesses, as in the case of Canbar Technical Services Ltd. and Sentinel Group Caribbean Inc. These two commercial entities have expressed that their specific interest is demand metering and net-metering/feed-in tariffs, respectively.

The remaining three intervenors are individuals – Mr. Errol Niles, Mr. Douglas Trotman (both attorneys-at-law) and Dr. Roland Clarke. While Mr. Niles’ interest as a commercial customer relates to the pricing process, Mr. Trotman’s indicates that he will be focussed on the economic effect of the increase on the domestic customer. Dr. Clarke, who specialises in the area of energy management and renewable energy, has concerns related to the proposed renewable energy rider. Mr. Olson Robertson had also been accepted as an intervenor but has subsequently withdrawn due to prior commitments.

It is therefore pleasing that such a wide cross-section of the society will be represented by the intervenors. Public Counsel also plays a vital role especially in relation to the intervenors. As an attorney-at-law, he is there to give legal advice on the issues that would arise in relation to a rate review process. The Utilities Regulation Act states that Public Counsel shall assist consumers and would-be intervenors, with preparing and presenting their case before the Commission. He can advise consumers on the legal issues that would arise under any proceeding. In this hearing BARP and SBA have advised the Commission that Public Counsel will be one of their representatives.

All of the parties above have advised the Commission in their letters of intervention of the level of participation that they want to have in the rate review process. The various levels of participation are described in the Utility Regulation (Procedural) Rules. For example an intervenor may wish to cross-examine the applicant’s witnesses, or to file interrogatories (written questions seeking clarification or explanation) with the Commission for the Applicant to respond to. The intervenors may also wish to request certain information of the company which may help them to analyse the information or to only enter a submissions on a particular issue, for example demand metering. Intervenors assist the Commission by challenging the Applicant from different angles or points of view to the case.

These intervenors are given all of the documentation related to the process. The Commission tries to ensure transparency by providing every person who is a party to the hearing, including the public with access to the information (unless confidential) that was submitted by the Applicant and the intervenors.

In order to facilitate the smooth management of the rate hearing the Commission will be identifying a list of issues that will be relevant to the determination of the BL&P rate application. This process will involve both the Applicant and the intervenors. By identifying the issues and focussing on them, time will not be spent on matters which, though of interest to a party, will not assist the Commission in making its decision. Instead the proceedings will be focused and the Hearing will be concluded in a reasonable time.

If you have any questions, email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or call us at 246-424-0260. We can also be contacted at our offices at ‘Good Hope’, Green Hill, St. Michael, Barbados.

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