Mac aims to pull CUC plug

| 30/09/2011

(CNS): The premier has announced that government intends to review its agreement with Caribbean Utilities Company (CUC) and the way customers’ power bills are being calculated. McKeeva Bush said he would examine more closely what the company would be charging if it was operating in a competitive environment as a result of representations made to government from people who have received monthly CUC bills that exceed their mortgage payments. Bush revealed Thursday that the kind of bills people were getting at present was unacceptable. He said CUC would be invited to enter into negotiations with government about how it could reduce these “kinds of bills” that so many people are receiving.

Speaking during a private members motion debate in the Legislative Assembly, the premier said that, depending on what the law permitted, his government would re-examine the deal it had with the firm and in particular the way CUC was calculating bills because it was clear that when power bills were higher than people’s mortgage payments, something was wrong.

Bush said government would not support the motion filed by the independent member for North Side asking it to reduce the current levels of duty on fuel by 50 cents per gallon because of the significant effect it would have on government revenue. Miller argued that the fuel prices affect all consumer prices and, given that government had claimed a $25 million surplus this year, it should be used to remove the duty.

During the ensuing debate, Bush railed against Miller and the opposition in general and accused them of playing politics. He pointed out that it was easy to paint government in a bad light when they all knew that public services depended on the revenue stream from fuel duty. The premier said the opposition knew that there would be a tremendous impact on government revenue if they were to make such a large reduction in the levy.

Bush said the duty government earned on gas paid for many essential services, which is why the motion was merely a political ploy. “This is the easiest way to beat up on government and they can beat up their gums saying government doesn’t care about poor people,” he said, adding that the opposition knew he was not in a position to reduce the duty.

The premier said that the cost of fuel was huge and CUC bills were madness but he said the duty government added was not the real cause of the high fuel prices. He implied that the deal negotiated with CUC by the previous government allowed CUC to charge what they did. “This is because they can do it,” he yelled at the opposition benches. “Because of the agreement they can do it.”

He said that when people were paying fuel bills that were more than their mortgages, it wasn’t because government had taken 50 cents from CUC for the country. Bush said the motion was all about politics as the opposition wanted to make the people believe the UDP was responsible for the large CUC bills that people were getting.  Bush said there was no doubtthat the high fuel bills were a huge problem for the country but he said it was “down to the shenanigans” of the oil companies. He also stated that government intended to follow through on its budget commitment to reduce the duty on residential electricity bills by 20 cents per gallon.

The premier pointed out that while Cayman was getting good service from its power supplier with the current on all the time, it was paying a very heavy price. “It is time that I take a second look,” Bush said in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday afternoon.

He also added that if CUC had lost money hedging then the firm could not expect the people to pay for its mistakes. He reminded the country that the power firm had been allowed to take money from everyone to cover its losses in the wake of Hurricane Ivan in September 2004, even though CUC was insured, while many clients who were paying the surcharge on their bills were not insured and had lost everything.

Bush said that while government could not accept Miller’s motion, it intended to provide relief for CUC consumers in more ways than one.

Category: Politics

Comments (153)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Well it's about time. It's not difficult to model after a more stable economy with a monopoly energy provider, like in Canada for example. We need to cap the price that they can charge consumers. It can't keep going up and up. It makes me sick to my stomach knowing how much everyone has had to pay. I myself gulp hard when that bills comes around and the lowest I place my a/c is on 80 degrees and rarely use the oven etc. I can only imagine what is like for those in a lower income bracket. It is a monopoly but they can't have both price control as well as contract prevention of competitors considering what the good is. When it is for a necessity such as electricity which people NEED, there needs to be government intervention to alter the SD model in a more consumer-favourable manner.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      CUC's rates are governed by a price cap mechanism so that rates only increase as a factor of inflation depending on its return. Last year there was no rate increase because the CPI was flat. The increased costs are due to the prices for diesel being charged by the local oil companies Texaco and Esso. It is not feasible to cap the fuel costs since they are a very large proportion of the total bill and are beyond CUC's control. Our difficulty is that we are entirely dependent upon fossil fuels for our energy needs. In Canada you have a number of cheaper (and cleaner) sources including nuclear and hydro.      

  2. Anonymous Maximus says:

    I can't lay any fault on CUC's end. They are a business and they are in it to make money. If they are allowed to do as they will without any regulations being applied to them. Then more power to them. In the end CUC gets their way because the law makers have allowed it and even put laws in place that ensures that CUC can do what they do best…making up more ridiculous fees.  

  3. Anonymous says:

    Have you noticed that as every election rolls around Mac pull out the CUC Card. He is just startng a bit early this time around.

    To him the votes come before the people.

    • Anonymous says:

      You're right, Mac has an AWFUL lot of convincing to do this time around so better get started early. Lets see if he really gets his hands anyway NEAR that cord or whether this is just the usualpolitrical hype.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Here's another kicker. CUC runs TV ads telling us how to conserve enegy to lower our bills. They pass the cost of the TV commercials on to us in our electric bills. If we conserve enough will it be enough to pay for the TV commercial they are charging us for?

     

  5. Anonymous says:

    It is the Premier that we need to pull the plug on. 

  6. Anonymous says:

    They have to charge high outrageous rates so that management can run up an down in brand new expensive SUV's at the consumer's expense. 

  7. Anonymous says:

    I said I wanted more POWER not that kind of POWER  ! Foo foos

  8. EYE ON THE ISLAND says:

    I bet he wants to build a nuclear Power Plant next to the Refinery. What do you think?

  9. Anonymous says:

    If he wanted to pull the plug on CUC then he should not have allowed the Govt. to increase duty on fuel by .50 cents in 2009.   Now he wants CUC to reduce their figures, what a joke.

      He and his govt. better lead by example.

  10. Don Corleone Sr. says:

    Am gonna put Mac and the Cats back in power if he get this done. But wait, he also have to charge of Ezzard Lard and cut the cost on other of Milla essentials.

    The Don

  11. Big whaopper says:

    robbers robbing robbers

  12. Anonymous says:

    It's about high time that someone looks into these CUC bills.  It is absolutley ridiculous.

    Can someone please answer this questions  for me – Is it true that CUC staff does not visit your house/properties to check your meter as it was done in the past?

    Is it correct that our usage is read from computers in their offices? How can one second guess what we the consumers use? If this is the case, is this why we the "little consumer" are being charged these astronomical amounts and the "big people" (offices/businesses) are being read incorrectly and they are being undercharged and we have to pay for CUC's losses?

    I conserve every which I can and still receive these outrageous bills? Thinking about going back to kersone lamp…would definitely be a lot cheaper. 

  13. Mac says:

    I said "pull" the plug, not rob it!!!

  14. PPMer says:

    Thank you, Mac. You have rich and powerful few on your side right now. Do something fast about CUC.  Have another company compete with her and lower everybody's electrical bills. Do something while you can. 

    From PPM supporter 

    • Anonymous says:

      Na – there is only profit in granting monopolies.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, calling your yourself a PPM supporter is sure to get his ear!

      SMH. Don't you realise that if it were that simple others would have thought about it and done it already? Why can't you folk understand that competition, even if it were feasible, is unlikely to lower your electric bills significantly? The present licence permits competition in generation but we are in an economic recession with a declining population so there is limited growth potential and not many power producers will be interested. Even they were interested unless they have a cheaper source than diesel provided by Esso and Texaco they are unlikely to be able to produce electricity cheaper than CUC which already has the infrastructure in place and the incremental costs of adding another generator must be far less than establishing generating facilities here from scratch.  

  15. Anonymous says:

    PV is obviously not an efficient means of energy conversion. The sunlight falling on a 1 square meter area is 1000 watts or 1 KW. A solar panel of 1 square meter only produces about 60 watts of power. 60 out of a possible 1000 is not very efficient.

     

    However, solar thermal technology using the heat of the sun rather than the light is on the order of 70% efficient in energy conversion to electricity. These solar thermal plants pay for themselves in less than 5 years in the U.S. The payback in Cayman would be even sooner given our quadruple high electrical rates.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      14. 38 With respect, a good panel nowdays has a net efficiency of about 15%, A standard panel is about 12.5 sq feet, or close to one square meter. Its maximum gross output is rated at 225 watts, or roughly  three times your net output of 65 watts per meter. Or have I got something wrong here? These little details of 300% errors, can change ones investment calculations a little.

      • Anonymous says:

        Fair enough. 225W is still less than 25% efficient for the square area compared to solar thermal which is triple PV.

         

  16. Anonymous says:

    CUC's transmission and distribution (T&D) assets (lines and poles) were not insured at the time of Ivan and still aren't today. Know why? Because they cannot be insured. Nowhere in the world will you find an insurance company willing to assume the risk of insuring a utility company's T&D assets. CUC's generation assets were (at the time of Ivan) and are still insured; not their T&D. Don't confuse the two. I'm surprised that BIG MAC doesn't know this simple fact….then again, I'm not surprised!!

    • Anonymous says:

      It's called invest in underground powerlines. They cost more initially but they don't get blown away. From CUC's standpoint there is no incentive for that becuase even if everylight pole gets torn down they dont have to foot the bill.

      • Anonymous says:

        A few years back, after Ivan, they dug up all the main roads in End End and North Side to put in water lines.  I really wondered why they didn't do a joint trench with the power lines.  Maybe it's just me, but it seemed like a good idea.

      • Anonymous says:

        There are so many armchair experts on every topic on this site it isn't funny. Do you understand that it will be very expensive to place these powerlines underground and that it is customer who will foot the bill to do so? In other words your proposal would significantly increase your bill. Who knows, we may not have another hurricane hit us for the next 20 yrs but on your proposal we would have paid for it up front.   

  17. Visitor from NJ says:

    I agree that Caymanians do pay too much for electric.  I have a 3000 square foot home and my bill is never above $300US.  We have to run our air conditioner 24 hours a day.  There are 6 of us in the household, so needless to say we are utilizing electricity everyday.  There are at least 2 loads of laundry a day, showers, fans, etc…Now here is where I don't understand!!

    In Cayman you are paying $5.60 per IMPERIAL GALLON – 4.54Liters

    In NJ, the lowest cost of gas in the states, we are paying $3.46 per gallon – 3.79L

    If you do the calculations, which I just did, it comes out to this:

    Cayman is paying .984 per liter in US$, US is paying .92 per liter in US$  Cayman is actually paying only .06 more than we are per liter.  That does not constitute your electric to be quadruple what I am paying.  You use diesel which is more costly than gas, but not by much!!  Someone is ripping you off!

    Just in case anyone wants to know how I calculated:  $5.60 / imperial gallon(4.54L) = $1.23 which equals .984 in US.

    $3.49 / gallon (3.79L) = .92 US

    I sure hope things start to improve for Cayman.  The Island is beautiful, the people very friendly, the watersbreathtaking….BUT it seems like others are trying to destroy it.  We can only make so much money in a year, and the costs that are incurred by those on the Island are much higher than here in the states.  We pay taxes, you don't, but you do pay duty which is tax, right?

    Good luck!  Hope to visit soon!  That is if I can afford it!  

     

    • Anonymous says:

      CI$1.23=US$1.54!!! NOT 0.984

    • Anonymous says:

      You were close, until you converted CI to US. CI$1.23 is US$1.50 per litre so we pay one-and-a-half times more than you for gas.

      Our base rate for electricity is around 10 cents per kilowatt hour (based on when oil was between $50 and $60 per barrel I believe), which is probably just a bit more than yours. You then have to add a $5 per month meter charge, fuel charges based on the price of oil, and a government tax on fuel which takes it up to near US$0.50 per kilowatt hour.

      My electricity bill has gone up considerably, but I know it is because we have been using more kilowatt hours to keep the A/C running for longer periods during the hot summer that we have had.

      Our Premier is a moron, but still smarter than the people who voted for him. Their electric bills have gone up due to the government tax that he increased on diesel fuel which the power company uses to generate electricity, but they find it more convenient to blame CUC rather than the Premier since he is never around to listen anyway.

      • Anonymous says:

        No, he wasn't close. It's almost funny how completely misdirected his post was. Mathematical errors aside, you can't say NJ electricity vs Cayman electricity should be comparable to NJ gas vs Cayman gas. CUC produces power 100% from diesel generators but New Jersey produces VERY LITTLE electricity using petroleum. Based on 2004 data, New Jersey generated 72% of the electricity consumed from in-state sources and imported 28%. Of the elctricity generated in New Jersey, nuclear power provided 47%, followed by natural gas at 28%, coal at 18%, petroleum at 2%, on-site (including combined heat and power) at 2% and refuse at 2%. The Energy Plan I got those numbers from did not break down the source of the 28% of electricity that was imported, but I would bet it was largely nuclear, natural gas or coal. In sum – apples to oranges.

      • Anonymous says:

         

        Bank buying CI and Selling USD rate = 0.84 (Standard rate offered to individual and commercial customers)

        Bank buying USD (check or electronic funds) and selling KYD rate = 0.82 

        Not even staff of the banks are able to get a rate of 0.80 so let's use 0.84 which would make CI$1.23 = US$1.46

        This would mean that Cayman is charging US$1.46 per Liter while the US is charging US$1.10 per gallon.  A difference of US 36 cents per liter, which is understandable to account for shipping and duties costs, etc.   However, this still does not justify the reason for electric bills being higher than people's mortgages, and this doesn't only happy during summer time, so it is not due to increased usage, its due to the GREED of CUC's shareholders, executives and board members.  Their power as a Monopoly allows them to do this.   I can't wrap my mind around why almost every other Caribbean country uses Coal for their energy source at electric plants, which is far more cost-effective, but yet they use diesel, the most expensive here in Grand Cayman.   
         
        It's also quite hard to understand why the electric rates are only high in Grand Cayman alone, because Brac Power in Cayman Brac experiences the same fuel duties, gov't surcharges and more, however their customers electric bills are significantly less.  Increased fuel cost has played a major role in the current global economic climate, but CUC is exploiting this at the cost of their customers.  I have personally used extreme measures to try to decrease my power bill – no use of water heater, unplugging appliances when not in use, central air conditioner only used for 8 hours at night, laundry once a week, in a 2500 sq ft home and the electric bill is still over $600 a month, needless to say my efforts are in vain.  I'm glad someone is FINALLY stepping up to the plate and battling this robbery that has been bankrupting the citizens and businesses of this country for several years now.  Go MAC!! 

         

        • Anonymous says:

          You said "I can't wrap my mind around why almost every other Caribbean country uses Coal for their energy source at electric plants, which is far more cost-effective, but yet they use diesel, the most expensive here in Grand Cayman".

          May be you can't wrap your mind around it because its false.  Read this World Bank report (March 2010) which discusses the ioptions for diversying sources of energey in the Caribbean:  http://www.caricom.org/jsp/community_organs/energy_programme/electricity_gifs_strategy_final_report.pdf

          Here are some quotes from the Report:

          "Barbados Light and Power (BL&P), a private company, is responsible for power generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity in Barbados. Existing installed generation of around 240 MW, mostly comprising of low and medium speed diesel units".

           

          "Dominica Electricity Services Limited (DOMLEC) is a sole producer responsible for the power generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity in Dominica. Existing installed generation, comprising high and medium speed diesel units and hydro units, exceeds peak demand by 35% providing a comfortable reserve margin. Dominica is looking to diversify its fuel mix, which is mostly dependent on imported oil products".

          "Grenada Energy Services Ltd. (GRENLEC) is a private energy provider that owns all the generation and transmission facilities in Grenada, Carriacou, and Petit Martinique. GRENLEC’s installed generation, mostly low speed diesels"

          "Jamaica Public Service (JPS) is the sole distributor of electricity in Jamaica. It is a vertically integrated company involved with generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity. It also buys power from four independent power producers in Jamaica… The main focus is on developing energy diversity, since currently 95% of power is generated by petroleum products."

          St. Lucia Electricity Services Ltd. (LUCELEC) is responsible for the power

          generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity on St. Lucia. Existing installed generation

          of around 75 MW, comprising of diesel units"

          "St. Vincent Electricity Service Ltd. (Vinlec) is a state owned corporation responsible for the power generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity on the islands. Existing installed generation of around 58 MW, mostly comprising low and medium speed diesel and small hydro units".

          "The countries of the Caribbean region face crucial energy challenges. Paramount among them is to manage their high dependence on oil (and oil products) that fuel their domestic economies, in particular the power sectors. Most countries’ power plants rely primarilyor entirely on imported diesel and heavy fuel oil (HFO)".

          ..

           

           

           

          • Anonymous says:

             

            I must say I'm sufficiently impressed with your google and copy & paste skills.  However, in my knowledge and experience I would have to say your response is neglecting to mention the 4 out of 13 Caribbean countries on that report that do solely use coal and distillates, smaller islands like as St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Antigua & Barbuda, St. Kitts & Nevis and Grenada, in terms of population which varies between 80 – 110k that are comparable in size to Grand Cayman.  Let's not forget our sister island Cayman Brac who incurs the same exact prices on duties and shipping as CUC, but their electric bills are a fraction of what we are seeing in Grand Cayman for the same usage, if not higher usage of kwh in the Brac.  

            When comparing Grand Cayman to much larger islands like Jamaica with a population of over 2.7 million, who are using diesel in addition to other distillates as they have much more consumers to provide for, there isn't an even playground for comparison.  JPL is a privately owned company, but there are also other Independent Power Providers.

            Gas in Jamaica is currently selling at US$1.16 per gallon, 298% cheaper than gas prices in the US!  You can check http://www.jamaicagasprices.com to confirm.  Even using the most expensive coal would still work out to over 7 times cheaper than diesel!  Friends of mine in Antigua, Jamaica, St. Vincent and The Virgin Islands who work in oil refineries and electric plants as engineers are amazed at the prices charged by CUC and question their use of diesel, rather than coal for such a small island.  But CUC is a privately owned company, the management's only objective is to obtain the highest return for their shareholders, NOT reasonable pricing for the consumers like the Government owned/partially owned utility  companies in other islands and countries. 

            Although we all know Mac is using this to buy votes, let's just hope he does manage to get something done and soon before all the homeowners in Cayman have to take out second mortgages for their electric bills! <– (last statement was meant to be slightly sarcastic, but sadly, this could possibly be true!)

            • Anonymous says:

              Well, clearly my google and copy and paste skills were up to the task of refuting your disinformation, and in the circumstances I would prefer to rely upon them rather than your supposed knowledge and experience. Even if it were correct 4 out of 13 Caribbean countries "solely use coal and distillates" that would be a far cry from the "almost every other Caribbean country uses coal" that you first mentioned and distillates are more expensive than diesel. I noticed you neglected to mention which four countries these were. According to Table 7-1 out of the 13 countries listed only the Dominican Republic uses coal at all currently and in that case most of its power is generated from heavy fuel oils. Puerto Rico and Guadeloupe have some coal power plants but are not listed in Table 7-1 and do not rely on these as their main source of power.

              You also neglected to mention the disadvantages of coal. These are given in the report as follows:

              1. The fuel is not compatible with existing non coal fired power generation facilities.

              Any new use has to include a new coal fired power plant.

              2. Large investment for coal import terminals if they cannot be used for other bulk

              materials.

              3. The largest carbon imprint of all fuels

              4. Sulfur, NOx and particulate emissions higher than other fuels.

              Finally,  the gas prices price you quoted for Jamaica is not correct and the website address  you gave is also not correct.  It should have been http://www.jamaicagasprices.com.jm. and the lowest price is Ja.$99.00 (US$1.15)  per litre. This is the equivalent to US$5.23 per Imperial Gallon (which is what is sold at the pumps here).  

               

               

    • Anonymous says:

      12.42 I also have a 3,000 sq foot house in Cayman, and  by developing good habits to minimize power use, my bills are rarely over $235 per month. I'm CUC's worst nightmare, because if everyone did as I do, their domestic sales would crash 40%.

      I accept that my insulation is good and the appliances are new,and if you're a renter, landlords arn't generally interested in helping you to save money by upgrading your ac or insulating your roof, especially now that rents have crashed.

      We love to complain, but please imagine the devastating bills that the supermarkets and retailers must now be facing, some over a million dollars per year, I'm sure.

    • miami fl says:

      It takes an outsider to calculated:  $5.60 / imperial gallon(4.54L) = $1.23 which equals .984 in US.
      $3.49 / gallon (3.79L) = .92 US
      just plain wrong in the way the country is being run ,  you do have poor people living in your country, don't be shock they exist and the cost of what they have to pay for mortage, water, light, food and maintaing their childrens health, its a wonder you all don't have more  suicide on the island, because they are not living, they are surviving on borrow time, . Yes we can blame CUC, but there is and should be another way to get the bills lower, not only for your poor,but for everyone peace of mind…..good luck and god bless you all…

    • Anonymous says:

      Welcome to our island. We've applied for a concession on your behalf. Our wonderful government gives away tens of millions worth every year. It's at our expense but don't worry, we're used to it, and we'd LOVE to have you here. 

  18. Anonymous says:

    Once again we are dealing with this very hot potato. As in the past, I have always maintained that CUC Bills are as high as they are because of extravagance on the part of CUC.

    Why is CUC burning expensive distallate fuel in the Plants when most of them are designed to operate on the much cheaper fuel oils. I suspect that this is becauseCUC do not wish to get their hands dirty with fuel oil, but how long do they think they can carry on like this.

    The public which they depend on for their income will eventually get wise and say enough is enough.

    I urge CUC to do the responsible thing and set their plants up to operate on the cheaper fuel oils.

    Pollution and the likes is no excuse,

    If those cruise vessels that show up every weekday morning on our horizon can do it. "WHY CAN;T CUC"

    • Anonymous says:

      The generators are convertible to natural gas which is even cheaper and much cleaner and more efficient than fuel oil. We still have the problem of government taxing any fuel that CUC uses as a means of maintaining economic control of the citizens thru excessive Civil Service jobs.

       

  19. Anonymous says:

    It's pretty simple = the problem is that CUC is a business not a public utility/service.  

  20. Anonymous says:

    How about a pay as you go like Cayman Brac also?

  21. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Ezzard is right. Reducing or eliminating fuel taxes and duties is the correct and responsible thing todo. Of course government will suffer decreased revenue. The solution is to move the lost revenue taxes to other areas and make government smaller to reduce costs.

     

    IT IS FUNDAMENTALLY WRONG TO TAX FUEL IN AN OIL BASED ECONOMY!!!!!!!

     

    Mac had better wise up soon before the whole island collapses around him. I think he is getting too involved in trying to control every little detail which is impossible to do. Setting proper policy is all that is needed to allow the natural forces of the economy to work efficiently.

     

    One sure way to measure current tax policy is to see if it is working and the answer is a resounding NO !!!!!!!!

  22. Anonymous says:

    People don't understand. Even if CUC were to run totally off of free wind power and solar, government would find a way to tax the wind and the sun in order to keep us paying for their bloated civil service, Turtle Farm, Pedro Castle, Cayman Airways and other Authorities which are albatrosses around our necks. Removing ALL fuel duties would be the biggest and smartes move government could do in kick starting this economy and reducing electricity bills and overall costs to the consumer.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Attn Treehuggers:  Thorium Reactors are the answer.  Google "Thorium", "Alice", and "Emma".

  24. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately, there are still very poor metrics for solar advocates everywhere.  With today's photovoltaic technology (PV), a typical 10kWh solar array would consist of approx 60 x 175W panels (imagine a footprint of about 30 square feet on your roof) and generate perhaps 11000kWh/year.  In North America this setup would run $175-200,000 installed (and these are not marine grade installs).  Also in North America under very controversial government sponsored feed in rebates (which effectively raise costs for non-adopters), current customers can expect rebates of up to $0.802/kWh (roof mounted) and $0.642/kWh (ground mounted).  Even with the most fanastic socialist inducement programs, the payback on capex (assumes nothing breaks, zero maintenence, and no fires) is close to 10 years.  Though I wish it were not so, until the price of the PV panels comes down, Cayman's salty and corrosive environment is not an ideal location for this technology.  There is new PV tech just over the horizon which halves the cost of panels and increases energy efficiency by a factor of 300%.  This new generation of PV panels are worth waiting for.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Solar doesn’t just mean PV – a thermal system utilising liquid sodium for its heat efficiency would halve our energy bills when the capital outlay is averaged over the life of the facility.

    • Anonymous says:

      11.25.  I'm sorry, but your figures are incorrect, in fact they amount to complete  nonsense. An output of 11,000 kWh per annum translates into avalue here in Cayman of CI$4,070, paid to you by CUC at 37 cents per kWh.

       

      Using a roof with an ideal orientation, this output would require an investment of about CI$30,000. You would need only 24 x 225w panels, because Cayman enjoys a very high rate of sun exposure.

       

      The sun here averages  5.83 hours daily on a fixed panel, set at an ideal 17 degrees to the horizontal. So just 24panels x .225Kw x 365days x 5.83 hours daily x 37 cents, totals  $4,250   (You talk of  a total of 30 square feet,  which is about three panels, when surely you mean 300 sq feet? And you talk about it costing "$175,000-$200,000," which would take a lifetime to pay off, and might be more than the house is worth.)

       

      You are right that the Cayman environment is harsh on materials, but these problems have been solved by the engineers. Conditions along coastal areas that face the prevailing wind loaded with salt  must be designed for, but inland the condidtions are not so harsh.

       

      If you have a good roof in Cayman, you can look at paying off the capital investment in about 8 years, and then the cash flows into your pocket for as long as the system lasts, probably 25 years. 

       

    • Anonymous says:

      PV made in Communist China by little kids

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, but……………  With a 15,000 investment, a moderate home (around 1,000 s.f.) can generate enough of their own power to run 75% of their house;  The other 25% on-grid is, of course, the air-conditioning, for which there is not a simple solution.  

      Still, given our extremely high costs of power, a USD $15,000 investment breaks even in four years or less.   It has for us.   The key to such a plan is:  (a)  24-volt refrigerator and freezer (Sundanzer) (b)  a small wind genny, which generates power all day and night and (b) learning how to balance your power needs.  What do I mean by this?  Simple.  Don't plan on running everything at once. 

      We run our dishwasher in the early morning.   Our water is heated by a homemade solar collector.   That works all year, except in the "winter".   We watch one TV, and it is an LCD TV (110 watts).   Don't run fans when nobody is in the room;  Fans cool people, not rooms.   We have a 24-volt whole house fan, which runs off a dedicated 50 watt PV panel.   It's a "po' person's a/c".  Get a Kill-a-watt meter, so you can find out your actual power usage.  Get to know these systems, because friends, times ain't gonna get no better soon.   This is not just a Cayman Islands thang, it's the world.   Times will get tougher, and we MUST adapt, and pull together. 

      Here's my bottom line:  If you have borrowing power, do some research and find a good deal for a complete PV solar system.   We have good sun here, however we also have a lot of cloud cover.   Wind gennys are good for rounding out your power needs, but not (IMO) great as a primary source.  

      God help me, I hope I don't have to defend my house against a mob who wants my ice at all costs.   Listen folks, should it come to that?   I will share willingly with my neighbors and relatives.   I will die before I allow a crumb to be taken by force.  

      Let us work together.   The world is a disjointed place, these days.   We can make it.  

       

    • Anonymous says:

      Your costs are way out of whack. You also fail to note that in the US you get a 100% income tax credit for cost of solar installation. I plan to buy one, set it up at my house in the US, fiure iut up for a week, take it apart and ship it here.

  25. Anonymous says:

    People don't you get it?

    Mac is not the slightest bit interested in what we have to pay to CUC (remember he does not pay his CUC bills). All he is doing is trying to buy votes and cover up all the mistakes he has made.

    Every time he does something like this remember the $450,000 he lost the Caymanian people on the Cohen deal (but he did get to fly in the private jet). The more than $4 mil he gave away to his cronies. The fact that he is pushing to get the freehold on Crown land for next to nothing (the fact that he has at least one condo in the developement has nothing to do with it!)

    Do not trust this man…if he gives you a $100 it is because he has taken $200 from you!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree.  Lamenting power rates in the LA really shows a lack of resolution and courage to face the CUC executive that are not in the room.  What could his fellow MLAs possibly do to change the rates he negotiated?  It is especially pointless when you consider that he is the Premier who has given himself credit for having negotiated the best possible deals in years past.       

    • Anonymous says:

      Nail hit on the head… If cuc has not raised rates since Ivan how are you going to bring it down Mac?…oh I know…..take off the taxes you put on…ask any cuc employee when the last time they got a raise…

  26. Libertarian says:

    CUC does need competition, and I encourage competition. But Premier Bush don't have to tell us that… we knew that from a loooong time ago.

  27. Here says:

    Power saving 101

    – charge your mobile at laptop at your workplace

     

  28. Anonymous says:

    I HAVE A QUESTION: PLEASE CAN SOMEONE TELL ME WETHER  OR NOT, THAT CUC CAN SPEED UP YOUE METER FROM THEIR OFFICE.  I read my meter,  AND I WATCHIT DAILY FOR LAST MONTHS, It was just a fraction for CUC reading which I can accept. But please believe me there is now way that the  meter reading is corresponding with what appliances I have  in my house.  SOMETHING IS DEFINATELY WRONG HERE. I replace my a/c with split units, (only use themwhere needed)  90% of the time its only one unit is used  and that is used  at night.  CUC IS DEFINATELY KILLING US.

    • Anonymous says:

      09.47 Yes they can speed up your meter from the CUC offices. It's all tied in to the recent spate of alien abductions at East End and Britain's attempts to destabilize its colonies.

      • Anonymous says:

        To 18:06 can you please explain what you mean when you refer to the recent spat of aliens aductiono at East End.

        • Anonymous says:

          20.11. Sorry, no I can't, just as I can never remember what the word 'irony' means.

  29. Anonymous says:

    If Bush can reduce my CUC bill and reduce the fuel prices at the pumps by half, they may be able to salvage my respect and favour for them come 2013.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is partley because of the extra tax he put on the fuel that CUC bills have gone up. And you say you will vote for him….fool!!

  30. Anonymous says:

    Awesome, Mac is on the case. Expect this project to be brought to a disappointing conclusion sometime in 2019.

  31. insane says:

    Now we are talking……this CUC bills are unacceptable…just get your bill's from last year same period as this….yeeeeeeees, it's double.

    I live in a one bedroom apt and with A/C  on at all time as i have a dog. Last year my bills never passed 90ci now its never bellow 180ci.
    Funny is that nobody come take th measurement from the electrical clock….back on my country monthly the worker come to the house and take the measurements and its accurate.
    Why they don't do the same here????? Oh…for that they may have to increase about 75cents per gallon to cover expenses!

    • Anonymous says:

      Ignorant! Why don't you ask that question the next time you go to CUC to pay your bill? I did. You know what the answer is (I don't expect you to know – rhetorical question)? The meters are read electronically. The meter readers only have to drive by your house (at any rate of speed be it 25 mph or 40 mph) to pick up your reading. There are only a handful of meters that are still read manually. Sorry that Cayman's technology surpasses the technology where you come from.

      • Anonymous says:

        Then why if away off Island for a month is my electricity the same as when I am here?

    • Anonymous says:

      Methinks its not CUC that is your problem…..get rid of the dog.

       

      You are welcome!

  32. Anonymous says:

    I for one would really like to enjoy a better utility bill than CUC is offering us.  It appears that they charge what ever they want.  But at the same time, how can the Premier reject Mr. Millers motion in regards to the high rate of duty that he has imposed on the poor people,  continue to over spend the government's revenue, and then expect that CUC will offer us the poor people any better rate????????   The Premier has his head on back-for-front.

    THE GOVERNMENT DUTIES ALONG WITH CUC PROFITS ARE KILLING THE POOR PEOPLE – McKEVA, WAKE UP!!, OR ASK YOUR FINANCIAL ADVISORS TO WAKE UP.

  33. NOSTRADAMUS says:

    MR KENNETH DART, this message is for you.  I believe you can afford it.  If you can, and will please seek a way to stop CUC. and the WATER CO,  Because right now, what ever they say about you I see you as saving Cayman.  I have no problem of you Living in your world you have built, but just to let you know the people of Cayman is looking to you for help.  We have no one else to turn to., and while you are at it please see that the Premier is given the best of advice, he is a good man.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dart is doing something about it. Waste to energy plant in Bodden Town. Hopefully he can turn some of that methane that creates those dump fires into electricty too when they cap the old dump.

      He needs cheaper electric and water bills too. Camana Bay burns alot of electricity and the water at those play fountains is fresh water straight out the tap not recycled. Has to be so children can play in it.  The water is then used for flushing toilets and irrigation.

      • Anonymous says:

        I suggest along with the dump, beach, Argentina, Belize, Russia Neuroscience and Salomon Inc we line Mr. Dart's silk purse with Cayman Energy – but let's call it Dart energy. Oh, hang on, there's already a website – http://www.dartenergy.com.au/

        That's useful isn't it. Well Done McKeva Dart

        • Anonymous says:

          So what if he is into energy, only a fool wouldnt want to invest in energy if he had millions.  I bet you if he was selling you electricity at $0.12 a KwH you wouldnt say no then.

    • Knot S Smart says:

      Oh Dear…

      I wonder way u from and who yo mama is…

      And if anybody will volunteer to start teaching common sense here…

       

  34. Hmmmmmm says:

    So we pull the plug on this monopoly but approve a deal for another monopoly.  We opened the market for Lime to have competition, are we saying that we are allowing competition for CUC?  Then why is Cayman Enterprise City allowed a monopoly?

    • Anonymous says:

      Good question. Why is the deferred duy on the Ritz development not being repayed? Why did a certain developer get an "invoice' from a certain politician? I cannot even begin to guess an answer to any of these questions because I would like a new appliance in 18 months.

    • Hmmmm says:

      4 thumbs down so far…..Hmmmmm maybe it is the 4 Caymanian staff hired by CEC as announced in the paper recently?!  LOL

  35. Frank says:

    Only in Cayman with such a soft government XXX can a companies equipment be damaged by a natural disaster then after they claim on insurance, charge unsuspecting cosumers to cover their companies losses. Absolutely ridiculous!!!

    And also when these CUC prices are "reduced" from all the over charging are we going to receive the funds back that we have been paying??

    • Anonymous says:

      So sorry but that's actually the way it works with a utility. Not just in Cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not correct. That happened not only in Cayman but in Florida and Jamaica as well. http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?p=2&tc=pg&AID=/20060510/BUSINESS/605100492

      The difference in Cayman was that CUC was actually entitled to a rate increase of 9.5% and the govt. of the day negotiated with them so that rather than add 9.5% to rates which would be a PERMANENT increase it would allow them half that (4.7%) on a TEMPORARY basis and call it a surcharge. Far from getting a windfall CUC actually got a lot less than what they were contractually entitled to.    

  36. The Prophet says:

    Mr Bush, Mr Premier, Big Mac, If there is one thing that you have said that make very much sense is now.  TEAR DOWN CUC.  Those people are going to make the seniors commit suicide, and the young take up their guns.  WHY IS IT THAT THE GOVERNMENT DO NOT SEE THIS.  Do you think gangs are just shooting gangs for nothing.  Every damm body is frustrated and sick and tired of these bills from CUC.  Emagine I live alone, and my light bill is over 600 dollars.  When I check it out.  What I am using is only comming up to 166,00 dollars and the balance of 400,00 and odd dollars is going into the pocket of CUC for nothing.

    MR PREMIER, let me tell you something,  CUC did not put you where you are, YOUR SEAT WAS GIVEN TO YOU BY THE PEOPLE OF CAYMAN.  It is time that you stop trying to please these people who cannot do anything for you.  Sometimes I wonder if they have BEWITCHED YOUR BRAINS OR WHAT.  MR PREMIER you are not hurting for money, and at your age, you will never want for money again I am sure. (not a thing wrong with making sure you and your family are secured)  But for God sake, listen to the Cayman people,  Your people are sufering at the hands of CUC and the water company.  Do you relly think that the ones who are running these companies can keep you out of the LA, no they cannot.  So you do not owe them a thing, and you are fixed for life, so it is time you be the Mr Bush I know you were, it is time to stand tall and stop trying to please  those people who can do nothing for you or your family.  Cayman people are drowning in a sea of Bills and frustration.  Sometimes I hear the elderly say if they had a gun they would join the shooters.  or that the shooters are shooting the wrong persons.  Does that sound good?  No it does not.  So please stop the talk, and do something about what is happening.  I can only prophsssssssssssssssssssesy  but it is written on the wall my friend.

    • Anonymous says:

      Next he needs to do a proposal to the banks to waive loan payments for a few months.

  37. Anonymous says:

    CUC has got to go, every month I consistantly get a massive head ache on the due date of my light bill. Over CI$500 every month on an 1100 square foot, 1 story apartment when AC is used nightly and on weekends,filters changed regularly, ac maintained,  washing once a week for 2 adults and 1 toddler, rarely cooking and heater turned off unless its near bath time. UNACCEPTABLE!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      That is unacceptable but I suspect that you need to check your usage and insulation. Even at current oil prices in the summer months your bill should not exceed $350 for an 1100 sq ft apartment. Get an energy audit.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds like you (or your landlord) are employing an older R-22 A/C system with lower SEER rating than the newer R-410A systems.  We recently changed ours to the new refridgerant gas and our bill is down on average about $200/month from where it was…though, still pretty high! 

      • Anonymous says:

        This was a brand new placed purchased in March this year, nothing wrong with the ac just CUC and their sticky fingies.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Remember people you cannot have your cake and eat it too.  I've seen the same thing happen with C&W and in my opinion the services and prices offered by the competition is no better, as a matter of fact most of the customers that move from C&W returned after one year or less.  Caymanians have  a good corporate citizen in CUC.  People need to understand that if you use it you have to pay for it.  Bring on the competition and see what will happen I hope that we don't have rolling blackout every day as in other islands.  I could do with my electricity being lower and in order to do this I conserve.   To clear the air I do not work for CUC neither do any of my family member(s).  For all those that are advocating competiton for CUC,  I just hope that when Caymanians begin to be laid off from those good CUC jobs as they were at C&W there will be no complaints when they will have to cut cost.  Bring it on and  let us see who will win and who will lose.

     

  39. Frodo says:

    I think Ezzard is showing his lack of knowledge of economics. Whilst I am sure that we would all like chaepaer power by cutting the duty – how does Ezzard propose to replace the revenue stream to government? What services will have to be cut as a result? Again he comes up with a populist idea but offers no real solution to the country and the people's woes, then again he is a politician so what do you expect. Mr Miller I have said this before, I believe you are doing a good job in vetting government proposals but this is only half the job, the other half is coming up with competing policy ideas which will set the country on the right direction – I am yet to hear diddly squat from you on this. Given this some may say you do have the right to critisie others unless you can come up with better ideas….

    • Ezzard says:

      Ezzard knows exactly what he is doing. He knew they would not accept his proposal, he simply went through the actions to demonstrate that something can be done by the Government to reduce the duty and cost to us on certain items. He knows he cannot do it himself and his proposal impact the budget and he has no say in the creation of the Govt budget so all he can do is draw attention to these items.

       

    • Anonymous says:

      You ask what services to cut? Start with the Turtle Farm, Pedro Castle and the subsidizing of Cayman Airways. Start taxing things in society that are bad like lard, fast motorcycles and loud car stereo systems. Taxes are a penalty and should be applied as such. Taxing necessities like water and electricity is wrong.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Whilst in this one instance I applaud the efforts made (and I sincerely hope they are genuine efforts and not part of the usual politricking!), I am still left to wonder why the government scratched the plan of having some wind turbines installed at High Rock for some testing to determine whether these would be good alternative options to create electricity!!! I believe some hurricane detection radar something was installed instead.

    Please – we have to look at alternative ways to create electricity. I don't know about the rest of the Island, but the current at my house has been VERY unstable, the lights are often flickering and I frequently wake up in the morning, noticing that electricity must have gone off during the night (even if it was just for a few seconds or minutes) as my alarm clock is flashing a bunch of zeros.

  41. Anonymous says:

    I think this is just the election campaingn starting but if Mac is serious then the government needs to require CUC to accept net metering from solar and other renewable energy sources. If net metering was permitted CUC would require less diesel for power generation which would result in lower bills for people.

    • The Voice says:

      Mr Premier, the time is now.  Do it now.  Do not let people say that it is nearing election time and you are setting a plan.  Cayman is not fool fool any more.  They watch what MLA,s do.  we watch and know when they begin to crawl like crabs, election is around the corner.  Take my vise prophesy and do it now.  Even if you plan to bow out, do it so that you will long be remembered.  The people of this Island is over the edge with the Bills of CUC and water.  God says that he would not give us any more than we could bear.  I am a christian but we are to the limit of cant bear anymore.  Mr Premier, I say think about your own position, and reflect on the cry,s you are hearing comming from the wilderness of Cayman.  Stop the madness that these people are doing.  Save your own soul because when it is all said and done, dont care how much we have nothing, and I say nothing can stop the heart when it is tired.  Do the right thing.  Stop CUC and the water Co. now. from their madness.

  42. Anonymous says:

    Easy, lets make solar panels, electric cars, wind generators, scooters, Segways etc duty free (and where necessary street legal).

    It would go along way to helping us make the switch.

  43. Nunsense! says:

    Why don't we just build an oil refinery?

  44. Anonymous says:

    its all silly rhetoric from both sides……. you can't complain when you use a third world method of generating electricity (burning deisel!)……….zzzzzzzzzzzzz

  45. Anonymous says:

    Sure they get their power from a Nuclear reactor, probably somewhere in Canada.

  46. Anonymous says:

    Easily. You are not in Florida. Power in the U.S. comes from a variety of sources many of them relatively cheap, e.g. hydroelectricity, nucelar power, coal etc.  

  47. Anonymous says:

    Come to think of it, I have not seen a CUC emplyee reading meters in our area for a long time. So maybe they are guesstimating our useage. 

     

    One solution is to look into prepaid electricity meters in the home. You buy your electricity on an ATM type of card and load up your own meter. It has a digital reader telling you how much $ in power you have left and flashes when it gets below a certain level.

    No more guessing what to bill customers.

     

  48. HardTalk says:

    Maybe "dart" can build a power company!!! I'll help mix the cement!

  49. Anonymous says:

    Mac wouldn't have mentioned it if a private members motion wasn't made.  CUC has to be admired for the wonderful job they are doing for their shareholders – CIG should invest the CS pension fund in CUC and they would make a killing!  

    It is Arden McLean's signature on the bottom line of the CUC contract, with 19 years remaining.  In the past UDP said they had no intention of contesting it – so why now?  You can downlod a pdf of the contract from CUCs website.

    Renewable energy is key – Gas will go above $6 per gal within 5 years. 

     

  50. Anonymous says:

    Well this is something I welcome.  I live on my own, I'm out of my (small) house 12 hours day at work with no A/C or anything on, I barely use my A/C on a night, and use my washer only 2-3 times a week max, yet my last bill was CI$400 – something definitely wrong there.

    • Anonymous says:

      7.28. You definitely have a problem. Request that CUC carry out an energy audit. Start by recording your meter reading every day and measuring it against your use. Each unit is one kWh, so every 10 kWh costs you $3.50. You'll soon find out where the power is going. Management is the key. I have a 3,000 sq foot property, and by working all the tricks, my bill is never over $250. It can be done, unless  your equipment is very old and inefficient

      • 7.28 says:

        Will this cost me?  I rent.  The equipment is less than 20 years old, as is the house, which also happens to be insulated, which I would have thought kept the bills down.

      • Anonymous says:

        Wow — that is quite a feat!  Can you share more?  Besides having an audit done, what other tricks do you work?  Enquiring minds want to know!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, something wrong there cos in a similar situation my bill is around CI$250a month.

  51. Solar Power Please says:

    Solar power please !

    Renewable energy will be the long term cost effective solution.

  52. Anonymous says:

    People never know what they have until they lose it.

    Almost everyone is convinced there exists a free lunch somewhere And they are determined to eat it..

    If the target is utilities, then eating the 'free'  lunch means eating the shareholder's invested capital. So naturally the shareholders resist investing any more capital. The result is cuts in services and maintenance, leading to unreliability, outages, and blackouts.

    Rather than that, I would certainly leave the 'free' lunch on the table.

  53. Anonymous says:

    Hahahahah Bush accuses the opposition of playing politics!  What did he expect them to play – Soccer?  Well Mac just to refresh your mind you and the opposition are politicians.  What you are both guilty of is not representing the people that voted for you.  You represent yourself and yourself only.

     

    When was the last time you paid a light bill Mac?

  54. Anonymous says:

    With the premier now following along this line of thinking, it would be a great time to direct the ERA to create the policies that would allow for a true NET METERING interconnect agreement with the utility so that people could install solar to help reduce their energy costs.

  55. Right ya so says:

    Hmmmm sounds like the typical pre-election "I'll say anything to get elected" garbage! Be nice if something is done about CUCbills but…

  56. Anonymous says:

    Maybe those with bills higher than their mortgage should turn down their A/C and use only one layer of covers rather than the three layers sheet, blanket, and comfortor.  Wont get in to the many flat screens etc…

     

  57. Anonymous says:

    CUC needs at least 2 competitors – ASAP.

  58. peter milburn says:

    Not trying to make CUC look good but we cant put ALL the blame on them re our high bills.A lot of the cost we are ultimately resposible for ourselves as we leave lights on tvs on heaters washing machines.You name it.We are so used to a fly high life style that we get carried away with things.We need to stress to our kids that they need to play a part in keeping the cost of living down in the house etc.and set a good example ourselves.I bet we could cut our light bils back by at least 25%if we tried harder.

                 Just saying.PMilburn.

  59. concerned CAYMANIAN TO THE BONE says:

    Mr Premier, I don't like when you shout out everything you intend to do. It make us nervous when you open you mouth. When you have a Company like CUC that charges a consumer 3 times their usage you shouldn't be wasting time talking but putting numbers on paper and giving them the correct numbers to charge. No company should be guranteed 15% returns on their investment when banks are giving us .001% on our savings. This is scandelous and poor management from the Governor down.

    Where is the Petrolum Instector in all of this? That office is so inept and non-functionable that it's wondered why we need this department. When you call that office there is no one to answer you calls and now that Cayman will see its 1st big Oil Company sold to a no name company out of France effective immediatelly one has to wonder if Mac know anything about this silent deal. When asked if a certain deal was going down the Inspector shrugged his shoulders and said it Rumor!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Well CNS, since you claim to be an investigive news network this is your time to use your skills and inform the people of Cayman and the government of this huge sale of the world's largest conglamorate that affects Cayman. Just watch for the new signs coming that reads, NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Caymanian to the Bone please look at CUC's Licence and their annual report. There is no longer 15% return allowed and the actual return of CUC is below 8%.

    • Anonymous says:

      NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN, this is no secret the news item was carried on CNN, ABC, CBS and BBC.   I would give the answer but this is a good trivia just go and Google oil company takeover news.

    • CAYMANIAN 2 TO THE BONE says:

      I am Caymanian 2 to the Bone, and I agree with most of what you have to say.  Yes I say Mr Premier, stop blowing conch shells.  Promising and writng on paper.  Dont you at least have a hear to realize what is happening in Cayman because of CUC and wate Co too.

      STOP TALKING DO IT NOW.  See like how you make up your mind fast on things you want to please some people, wll lets see and hear results on Monday morning.  Cayman is dying.

    • Anonymous says:

      "No company should be guranteed 15% returns on their investment"

      Agreed, but you are a little out of date. CUC's current licence does not permit them to earn 15% let alone guarantee it. The target rate of return is 9-11%, but that is not guaranteed either.   

  60. James says:

    talk is cheap, while my CUC bill remains expensive!!

  61. Anonymous says:

    Finally, I have a friend who lives in Florida, house is approximately 2800 square feet, runs a/c all day has the usual appliances including pool and well.  Their electric bill during summer months are maybe 400.00 US.  Can CUC explain that???

    • Anonymous says:

      Sure. Coal deliverd by rail car or natural gas by pipeline to supply the power plant.  Much cheaper fuel sources than imported diesel by the tanker load.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don't compare apples with oranges, what is the population of France and that of Cayman? I rest my case…..

    • Anonymous says:

      They have the quantity of customers.

    • Anonymous says:

      everything in cayman is at least twice as much as the states….. thats why this place is doomed to failure…..the cost of living here  kills any chance of real growth or development….

      this problem was compounded by this government who increased fees and duties for everyone instead of cutting the bloated civil service!

  62. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Mac but he needs to aggresively work on this now.Ths is the only country in the world where elecricity costs exceed mortgage payments. It is amazing how we have let CUC continue to operate in this manner.

    This is the only country in the world where if the price of fuel goes down your electricity bill goes up.

    The next place he needs to look at is the price at the pump and what is being charged by the oil companies bringing in fuel to Cayman. Why is it that we can't bring in fuel from someplace else other than the United States. Why doesn't the Government build it's own fuel farm and have everyone purchase from them? With FOI now we could keep them honest and drive down the cost of fuel. Just don't hire a bunch of civil servants for .no reason like they do in other areas.

    Come on Mac…Get er done!!!

  63. Anonymous says:

    I nearly fainted when I got my "CUC" bill last month, I had to put a rag to my head and lay down in bed for the rest of the day.  Its about time the law do something about these  outrageous bills that CUC triples on us each month. This must be the only good thing so far this year Mckeeva is trying to do for a min I thought he was going plump mad.

  64. Anonymous says:

    "but he said it was 'down to the shenanigans' of the oil companies".  One must believe he's referring to the companies on-island.  We are all watching the price of gas and everyone seems to have noticed that when the price goes up in the US, the price goes up in Cayman.  But when the price goes down (way down) in the US, the price stays the same here.  Enough nonsense about how we are paying for the old price of the last tanker.  These companies areripping off the people of these islands!

     

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree, Months and months later we still paying $5.60 for regular and atleast once a month that big tanker is there off South Sound topping those tanks off.

      When Mac wanted to do the refinery, people shot it down instantly.  We could get cheaper, higher quality fuels and even blend with biofuels biodiesel and ethanol to hedge the rise in petroleum products.  The price of biofuels is going down because of increasingly viable sources while the price of oil is going up no new oil is being made and is finite.

      The project was shot down instantly.  I say let CUC run rampant, let gas go to $10 per gallon then see if people mind someone building a refinery.

  65. Dred says:

    This is more political ploys.

    People we are past the halfway point now and this is pandering so he can start gartering back the vohe lost because of all the crap before. He has no intention of doing anything.

    This is like COLA. He said it only because he knew there were a lot of people who wanted him to say it. He knew it would get shot down just like he knows this will get shot down.

  66. Eaye Dennis says:

    Let me say at the outset that I hold no brief for CUC or any other business who has invested in this island and is trying to make a profit.  But we in Cayman beleive that we can sleep with the airconditionning unit on all night, pull the blanket over our heads as though it is winter and then scream and curse and run to our elected representatives when the bill for the usage of that same A/C comes in. Yes folks, it is the A/C that increases your bill.  Then we have seen high fuel costs over the past few years. If you look at more than the amount your bill is, you will see what the fuel cost is. It is high!  Some question whether the company should pass on this costs or eat it up?  My question to those persons is: How would the company survive?  How would a supermarket survive if it did not pass on the shipping and other costs to the consumer. How would a car company survive if it did not mark up its price to sell a car?  The business model for any company must be to survive, to make a profit.That is why they are in business.  Having travelled extensively across the Caribbean and Internationally, I can say without contradiction that I get an excellent service in electricity and water here on Grand Cayman. So when my electricity bill comes, I pay it.  I do not sleep with the AC on and I monitor my usage, by turning off lights when nonone is in the room and unplugging gadgets when not in use.  We should all try to do these things. 

    Unfortunately, the Premier has to make such comments to appease those persons who run to him with their domestic issues but I have no doubt that he understands the way business works.  He knows that CUC could not be overcharging its clients. If that were the case he would have to get the rid of the ERA. Don't they have to check the charges before CUC can apply them? Also, I believe some time ago the said Premier may have been a CUC Board member, if I am right then he should have some idea of how the process works?  Maybe he has forgotten. Maybe it is time he does meet with CUC and get an understanding of how it works so he can explain it to his constituents when they come to him.

    Look, things are tough and we are hurting. I encourage some discipline of how we manage our lives and let's avoid the urge to crucify persons and companies for the sake of doing so,  particilarly without the facts.    

     

  67. Anonymous says:

    This smells of pure election ploy.

    Gotta do something to rally up the support after the record the UDP is creating for themselves. This is to be continued, you will hear a lot more about "what we are going to do with CUC" just before the election. some will swallow it hook, line & sinker; and possibly the boat as well! Not today (or next year) bobo!!!

  68. Anonymous says:

    ATTENTION CUC.

     

    In case you missed the details buried in my previous comment, I urgeyou to look into converting your generator sets to run on natural gas. The cost is about one seventh the cost of diesel and will remain low for a long time to come. You will  be able to lower our electricity costs and satisfy Mac at the same time. (Of course he will want a piece of this action too)

     

     

    Please respond here.

    • Anonymous says:

      The cost of engine maintenance & parts does however increase.

       

      To convert one of the smaller engine that CUC have from Diesel to NG will cost in the region of $100,000. 

      Time that by how many engines and you have a awful lot of money required up front.  Offset that cost to the saving and how many year will it be until a return is seen?

      • Anonymous says:

        At our current rate of billing, 100,000 dollars would be paid off in about a week. CUC paid over 100 million dollars in 2010 for diesel. The equivalent in NG would be 15 million dollars. That leaves 75 million leftover for the conversion and the lowering of our bills.

         

      • Anonymous says:

        Mind you if the explosion at CUC earlier this year had been with natural gas generators rather than diesel it would have been a whole lot uglier.   

  69. Anonymous says:

    Dear Mac & The Fries,

     

    Before you pull any plugs, read this. Natural gas is now about one seventh of the cost of diesel.

    In 2010 CUC spent over 100 million in fuel costs which were passed on to the consumer. If they convert their generators to run on natural gas it would cost about 15 million dollars instead of 108 million. This savings would be passed on to the consumer which would lower electricity rates and put more spending power in the hands of consumers.

     

    Government needs to stop fiddling with business and create policies that are pro-business. The number one thing to understand is that government does not create jobs, businesses do. Look at Cuba as an example of what happens when government tries to control everything.

    • Anonymous says:

      Unfortunately the only way to transport natural gas is via pipeline so we are out of luck. CallHome Gas and ask them why they sell Propane only in the Cayman Islands… you get the same answer.. no pipeline!

  70. Anonymous says:

    I would encourage everyone to do as I do and read their own electricity meter on a regular basis to ensure that CUC is getting it right. It is dead easy to compare your meter's actual reading with what is printed on your bill, just to be sure that they are actually reading the meter. Of course by the time the bill arrives the numbers on the meter will have changed but you will still have a good indication of the accuracy of the bill.

    • Anonymous says:

      I was told they don't come onto the property to read digital meters they use some kind of device that 'reads' the meter as they drive by your yard I would love to know how reliable that system is and the range of error.  I have an old meter and I NEVER see cuc in my yard reading the meter and neither does my family member that is home all day.    Its beyond ridiculous.  CUC are scam artists with this billing they are sloppy and relying on meter readers who they cannot prove came and read your meter, and they know it.  Furthermore if they see your energy use drops too much they assume the meter was read wrong and they adjust it upwards by a % based on what they think your usage should have been, which is why you don't see much of a drop on the bill when you go on vacation for weeks leave everything turned off.   We need some kind of consumer protection from this ongoing scam

  71. Caymanian Boat Captain says:

    It was the PPM in particular the minister responsible at the time, who gave a sweetheart deal and contact to CUC that causes our light bills to be more than our mortages today. Quite the contrary when the UDP negotiated with Cable & Wireless which allowed Digicel to and other companies to come on- line, which caused our telephone bills to significantly decrease.

    Let's give credit where credit is due, UDP handled Cable and Wireless very well in the interest of the country but PPM screwed upbig time with CUC…….. which we are all paying for now.  

    • Anonymous says:

      I note that your expression "sweeheart deal" is parroting McKeeva Bush. Rather than politicking let's bring some understanding to the issue. No proper comparison can be made between telecom and the electricity sector. Apples and oranges. Once telecom's infrastructure is in place there is a very small incremental cost to supply the service to customers. In other words, there was a great deal of fat. It is very easy to compete in the cell phone market because even the infrastructure costs very little (basically erecting cell towers) and it does not increase because you have more and more customers. The electricity sector on the other hand is very capital intensive and as demand increases so do costs. One single new generator may cost $25m.  The extension of transmission and distribution lines to meet new demand costs money. As far as transmission and distribution are concerned it is a natural monopoly. Competition would in fact increase prices as each company woud have fewer customers who would have to pay for the same infrastructure which would be redundant. The UDP recognised this and so its own Heads of Agreement with CUC did not provide for any competition in T&D, only in generation. I should also point out that it actually provided for CUC to have a substantially higher rate of return than it receives currently – up to 24% return on equity.

      The new licence allows competition in generation of electricity. Bids were invited a couple of years ago but it was cancelled because of low projected growth in the demand for electricity. However, the reality is that even there the competition is unlikely to be able to bring lower prices than CUC so long as the source of energy is some sort of fossil fuel because CUC already has its infrastructure in place (land, generating plant, personnel etc.). Of course what is primarily driving the costs is the high price of oil. It would have been smart to have hedged these prices when the price of oil was at $40 a barrel since it was always bound to rise substantially above that. Note that at that time your electricity bill was actually quite low.  

      That said I fully support examining the agreement with CUC and in particular its billing methodology. However, beyond that we need to look at what the oil companies are charging as they are the primary cause of increases in costs.   

      I have presented only the facts, not political rhetoric. I hope you will understand these points and not accuse me of being CUC's friend or some such nonsense.   

  72. Anonymous says:

    Big problem no doubt. No clue no doubt.

  73. Finally Mac makes sense says:

    Finally Mac starts tackling a real problem to help the people!

    CUC is laughing all the way to the bank every month because they've been robbing us royally yet the police does nothing…lol

    Reducing CUC's duty on fuel won't help out a bit. Government will loose out on revenue and CUC wont give out a rebate.

    Prove your self on this one MAC and dont disappoint us ok bobo… I don't want to hear you saying in a few weeks that your hands are tied and that you can't do anything about it. You know you can do it. Don't "play politics" with us. When elections come we don't want to hear of how much you wanted to do but your hands were tied. Same goes for the civil servants 3.2…

    God bless MacKeeva!

  74. Anonymous says:

    We should thanks the Premier in this effort.  Someone should look into the whole billing formula and also see whether the meter reading in fact take place before doing the bills.  Utility companies always hide things in the billing formula to maximise profits.  There are rumors that CUC uses the heat index to calculate peoples bills without reading meters. In one of the carribean countries, its government seized the power plant operated by the CUC's parent company for rediculous bills people were getting.  Mac's effort should be a genuine one with good intentions. Shouldn't try to grab this and hand it over to his buddies.

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you talking about Belize where the prime minister promised the people they would get lower electricity bills at a time when when world fuel priceswere increasing, and even though they already had the lowest cost of energy in the english speaking Caribbean? He then stopped the company from passing through the cost of electricity purchases, most of which came from Mexico,  drove the company bankrupt,  then decided to take over the company to keep the lights on. The government is now paying the same fuel bills, have not reduced electricity rates and the country's financial rating has been downgraded because of the financial liabilities they are now facing.  In the future that government and company will find it harder and more expensive to attract capital to finance new equipment, so service quality will likely deteriorate. Be careful what you wish for in the Caymans.

  75. Michael Mouse says:

    To save work, why does CNS not just post as a recurring daily story "Mac spouts more populist yet unintelligible gibberish while not addressing the public on the issues relating to the ongoing police investigation into his conduct"