CUC faces audit of rates

| 11/10/2011

(CNS): Following recent comments in the Legislative Assembly about plans to take a new look at the license agreement under which CUC supplies power to Grand Cayman, the premier said Tuesday that government would be commissioning an external audit of the company. McKeeva Bush said no one could convince him that the high power bills people were receiving at the moment were a result of the extra 25 cents duty per gallon on diesel that his administration had imposed and he intended to prove government was not at fault. He questioned whether the increase in bills was down to CUC, which he said had “hedged and lost”, rather than the duty.

“I want to have an audit done on Caribbean Utilities to see what the true cost is and where the cost is coming from,” he said. “Was it because of 25 cents from us or did they hedge and lost money and then we now pay for it?  These are the questions that must be answered. I m going to get a company out of the United States or from Canada one that knows what they are doing, that has been in the business to deal with this audit.”

Speaking on Tuesday evening at a public meeting in George Town hosted by the United Democratic Party, which appeared to signal the start of the ruling party’s 2013 election campaign some 18 months early, Bush took aim at the opposition, which he said was trying to make people think the high utility bills were all the fault of government purely for the purposes of political gain. The premier said government was forced to impose the 25 cent increase on diesel because it had no money as the PPM had overspent, and they were now trying to make political capital.

The recent motion requesting government to reduce duty on fuel, which was filed by the independent member for North Side, Ezzard Miller, was rejected by government on Monday, but it was clear Bush was concerned about the impression that was left by the debate when he said it was easy for those not in government to pick issues that would “rile the people.”

He also accused the opposition when it was in government of allowing CUC to charge customers millions of dollars in the wake of Hurricane Ivan to cover the firm’s losses in the storm, despite having insurance, which was more than most ordinary people had.

“There is much being said today by the opposition about the cost of electricity but we can’t forget that after Ivan they gave Caribbean Utilities something like $13 million, which we all paid for,” he said. “On top of that it had its own money, its own insurance, what many people didn’t have.”

Bush said anyone “could talk because talk is cheap” but it was different when in government because you had to find the money. Bush told the more than one hundred people gathered at the Mary Miller Hall that, given the current situation with CUC, no one could convince him that the bills were government’s fault.

“Nobody can convince me that a 25 cent increase on diesel is causing your bill to be doubled and in some instances more than your mortgage,” he said. “So when the opposition gets up and talk that its government’s fault, they would love you to believe that.”

Bush said that Cayman may well have one of the best power services in the Caribbean region and government was happy to have a company here such as CUC, but the country pays dearly for it. He also said that world energy prices were high and this was another reason why bills were expensive but why they were not the fault of government.
 
The premier spoke about a number of other issues during the meeting but focused heavily on the faults of the PPM, making comments that signalled the campaign had started. He saidthe opposition would not take responsibility for what had happened when they were in power or admit what they had done wrong and say sorry.

“They would rather talk about corruption and point their fingers and make you believe that we are the worse things on earth,” he said. “But you put them in there again and ‘dog eat your supper’ hear what I say,” the premier told the audience.

Category: Politics

Comments (74)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Blame it on rising oil prices?  FYI – Oil was selling for around $110 a barrel in May and as of today a barrel of oil was going for $86.  So explain to me why the cost of energy is still the same here?  Considering an approx. 22% decrease in oil prices.  My power bill has went from  $0.3536 per kwh in May, to $0.3508 per kwh now in October, a less than 1 % decrease.  Let's forget government duty charges, that is only 12% of my entire bill, I can live with that! Let's talk about this fuel charge, that's 56.9% of my entire bill, and has been all year, although oil prices are dropping.  

  2. Anonymous says:

    Calling in an external auditor is just another attempt to spread around more public money to UDP cronies and "advisors" who may be paid "consultancy fees" or "arrangement fees"

     

    CUC is already audited by a "Big 4" highly-professional firm = PwC. Is Macsaying that PwC don't know what they are doing when he suggests hiring an "external auditor" to review CUC? PwC is an external auditor, what's wrong with them?

     

    Once again brain did NOT engage before mouth did!

    • Anonymous says:

      With all due respect to PWC the audit it provides is simply a financial audit and really for benefit of CUC and its investors, not for CUC's customers. PWC's engagement is with CUC. For example, several years ago, the Auditor General issued a report on CUC in which he identified a practice of "gold plating" whereby CUC would over-invest (buy a Rolls Royce when a Toyota would do) because this would have the effect of enhancing its returns which were at that time a guaranteed 15% on rate base. Was such an issue ever identified in any of PWC's audit reports? I thought not. That is the sort of issue that such an audit should be about. However, I believe it should be undertaken by the AG's office and, so far as it finds it necessary, specialist assistance should be obtained from abroad.     

  3. HickaT says:

    I am no fan of CUC by a long shot…trust me…I have no interest in CUC but here are the cold hard facts that can be verified by any person who takes the time.

    1. CUC never did nor does hedge fuel
    2. CUC by Law can only purchase fuel from any of the two fuel providers
    3. CUC has invited bids to purchase alternative energy (which was derailed by a Doppler radar)
    4. CUC does not have a guaranteed rate of return.
    5. The hi cost of electricity IS because of fuel rates and taxes.
    6. CUC has stated that under no means are they giving up distribution rights…saying that, any other company that gives CUC “competition” will have to sell the power to CUC at the rate CUC produces it or less. The initial capital investment for a small 4MW is 15-20 million, not including the auxiliary support such as employees, etc. Unless there is a investor willing to put in a generating plant for free, AND has some way of generating cheaper while being reliable 24/7, it is just not going to happen. So be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.
    7. Electricity generation can no way be compared to telecommunications; it is a whole different animal.
    8. CUC does get audited externally yearly by competent on islands firms.
    9. CUC does not estimate bills; meters are read by meter reading trucks with AMR technology
    10. CUC cannot absorb the rising cost of fuel and taxes for the obvious reasons.
    11. CUC employees do not get discounts
    12. Shares can be bought in CUC…if you can’t beat em…join em
    13. The real money is distribution of power NOT in the generation of power…think about that.
    14. CUC is a political football just like immigration, Cayman Air, etc….that politicians use to play the peoples emotions.
    15. CUC is 95% Caymanian
    16. CUC does allot for the community
    17. CUC cannot speed up or slow down meters.

    18. THE TAXES PUT ON CUC FUEL USSAGE THAT CUC PASSES THROUGH TO THE CUSTOMERS BECAUSE THE COUNTRY WAS BROKE WENT WHERE?……WAIT FOR IT…..WAIT FOR IT….NATION BUILDING FUND!!

    On the other side:

    1. CUC can do a better job at PR & informing the people consistently.
    2. CUC can reduce spending
    3. CUC can help consumers conserve
    4. Although CUC does not currently have the in house capacity for a large scale alternative energy project, they should still look a forming partnership with an alternative energy company.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is mostly correct, however:

      1.  I do know that there were discussions with CUC regarding hedging of fuel a couple of years ago but I am not sure what became of them.

      15. If by that you mean the employees are 95% Caymanians that is probably correct. However, if you mean according to shareholdings then that is not correct.     

  4. Anonymous says:

    Buy a device called KILLAWATT and then you can find out what is burning your electricity.  Then you can turn off the things taht are burning the most electricity and/or buy some more energy efficient appliances.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I believe Big Mac is partial to the auditor who told him that the Cohen deal would save the country $24 million.

  6. Anonymous says:

    If there is going to be an audit of the factors underlying CUC billing I would prefer that it is run through the Auditor General's Office. Let the Auditor General select an outside expert if that is absolutely necessary. I have far more trust in an audit run by the the Auditor General's Office than one run by any politician with an agenda.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Will the audit selection go through the proper procurement process or will a local referal fee and the use of a private jet be involved?

  8. Lachlan MacTavish says:

    If the elected Government would get their financial house together and stop wasting the peoples money they could repeal the duty on CUC fuel. Doing an objective audit from a company in the USA or Canada is a waste of the peoples money……

    Lachlan MacTavish

    • Anonymous says:

      So if the duty was repealed, everything would be good with the bills, and we all wouldn't need to protest about feeling like we were being gouged by CUC every month? Hardly.

  9. Anonymous says:

    yaawwwnnnnn…… you will always have this problem when a country exclusivley burns deisel to produce electricity….

    solar has been used for decades! but cayman is  still debating….zzzzzzzzzzz

  10. Anonymous says:

    On the assumption that this is not a total sham, is it possible to limit the choice of auditor and the audit parameters and instructions so that you get the result you want?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Go Mac Go…last week every one was compalining that you weren't doing anything and now they are compalining that they you are doing something.

     

    It will be money well spent either way because in the end I will know whether it is CUC or the 25 cents tax from the government that is causing me to pay an amount equal to my mortgage every month for electricity.

    • Anonymous says:

      What is your mortgage and what is your CUC bill? My mortgage is $2800 and light bill $500, something wrong in your house.

      • Chris Lopez says:

        Why is everyone focusing on CUC and the Government Tax? I saw a post earlier that oil had come down over 22% in the last six months yet our fuel here has held it's high cost..what's up with that? everything is a function of the cost of fuel.. how can a 22% reduction in world fuel costs only result in less than a 1% reduction in fuel costs in Cayman? someone in laughing all the way to the bank and I don't think it's Government or CUC…  By the way I agree with the writer that states that we need renewables.. 50% of the power to my house comes from Solar…it works!  God's own power plant and I guarantee His price will never go up!  On the other hand, the FIT (feed in Tarrif) program from CUC for people who invest in renewables needs to make sense – we are still paying for Diesel fuel that we don't consume – until true Net Metering is introduced to our country we will not be acting for the good of the people.  It's a little like drilling your own water well in your back yard and then having to pay the water company for the water you pump out of it into your house.. no kind of high finance explanation can justify that.  It's time to get real.. time is running out and people are seriously suffering under these types of high fuel costs.. remember you don't just get hit on your CUC bill, you get it when you go shopping for food as supermarkets have huge electricty bills also and we pay fro it in food bills and then when you go put gas in you car you get slammed again.. this is undermining our economy. 

      • Anonymous says:

        Mortgage – $1,285.62

        CUC – $1,112.47

        Size of home 2500 sq. ft. with A/C serviced every 3 months, proper insulation, laundry once weekly, light cooking, family of 3 in household.  I'm sure I'm not the only one with these numbers in light of all the complaints that have finally led to gov't interception. 

         

        • Anonymous says:

          Mortgage – $0.00

          CUC – 800 kilowatt hours average. Last month was almost 1200 kilowatt hours which took the bill to around $400. By the end of next month, when the high heat and humidity drops off, and until April/May next year, the windows will be open at night with the A/C turned off and the usage will drop below 600 kilowatt hours per month. That's usually less than $300 per month.

          Here is how you do it: (1) Remove electric stove and install propane. A 100lb cylinder of propane with efficient burners and elecdtronic ignition lasts a whole year, and that's with daily usage. (2) Windows are double-glazed and tinted. (3) Roof is white metal with radiant barrier insulation inside. NOT tar/fiberglass shingles. Shingles are intended for cold climates where they can heat the attic in winter and keep the house warm. (4) Water heater is solar. Water is heated by the sun and NOT electricity.

          BTW, my house is 3400 sq feet and a considerable sum was spent to purchase the windows and roof. If you have a shingle roof then paint it with a white reflective paint.

          My A/C is a 15-year-old 12 SEER model that will be replaced with a 20+ SEER model when it can no longer be serviced. Currently it is serviced once per year in April/May and the filters replaced just before we start turning it on for hot summer nights.

          Address the four main points that I have listed and I guarantee that your CUC bill will drop below $500 per month.

          • Anonymous says:

            Thanks for your helpful tips.  I'm aware of most of them.  I don't use the water heater at all, however I do have the asphalt/shingle roof and was not aware of it's affects, so I really appreciate that info and will research the cost of having it painted with the white reflective paint.  The other upgrades would be quite costly and I do have a mortgage to pay in addition to CUC, along with many other consumers. These upgrades would be quite costly and certainly not feasible by the average consumer.  Someone needs to put a stop to the greedy pricing of CUC and the local Fuel stations.  With a 22% decrease in the cost of oil since its peak of over $110 a barrel in the earlier part of this year, we have only seen less than a 1 percent decrease in electric and gas rates here in cayman as a result of this – RIDICULOUS!  The fear of monthly electric bills and their fluctuating rates is beyond stressful.  Fill-ups at the pump for the month total more than some people's car loan payments (Thank goodness I don't have that additional burden of a car loan).  The government duties are not of utmost importance, we don't pay income or sales taxes, the gov't must make their money somewhere! The fuel duty only accounts for 12% of my bill, on the other hand almost 60% accounts for fuel charges, THIS is what must be dealt with people.  Thanks again for the tips 21:34! You should go into business – I'd be your first customer! (smile)

  12. Anonymous says:

    Well, this looks like another political scheme but playing 'devil's advocate' would you please have the Auditor check what information they use in the 'equation' to calculate energy consumption?

     

    I have done all humanly possible to conserve energy, to ensure my house is insulated, followed all and more (turned off water heater, use a clothes line etc)………but since my bill is so high

    I AM CONVINCED THAT CUC FACTORS IN THE SQUARE FOOTAGE OF THE HOUSE IN ORDER TO GET AN AVERAGE CONSUMPTION AND NOT ACTUAL CONSUMPTION LEVELS.

    HELP ME WITH THAT AND I WILL BE IMPRESSED…FOR ONCE

    • Anonymous says:

      15.56  I'm curious:  How much is your average bill? What is the square footage of your house? At what temp do you set your a.c.,  and for how many hours a day?  Your complaint is amusing but meaningless without concrete figures. Please let us know for comparison purposes.

  13. Bracka27 says:

    I really wish they had the same set up here as they do in the Brac. Where they have a 'pay-as-you-go' system, you can monitor your usage and 'top-up' your card when needed.

     

  14. Anonymous says:

    Can somebody please educate this man on how the open market works.  Fuel is expensive these days.  CUC has obligations to make and unfortunately the cost of fuel has gone up, up, up.  What do you think is going to happen to power bills?  I don't know the numbers either, but wasn't this summer quite hot compared to the past couple?  That has an affect on every CUC bill….CAN CNS FIND SOME DATA ON THIS?

     

    He really needs to take an economics course……why is his first insticnt to fight everyone….be nice and meet with them and see what can be done……

     

    25 cents is quite a hike for the cost of fuel.  Even if CUC were paying $10 per gallon of fuel, a 25 cent increase is 2.5%.  If you take that down to around $5 per gallon which is probably more realistic, that reprsents a direct cost increase of 5% for raw materials for CUC…..

     

    Why don't we just let the government run the utility company and then we will all be begging for CUC…….

  15. Anonymous says:

    CNS you state, " which appeared to signal the start of the ruling party’s 2013 election campaign some 18 months early, Bush took aim at the opposition" .

    Sorry, but am I the only one that noticed that at each and every public meeting that he has held, the same Bush mantra against the PPM and the conspiracy against him is all that the meeting is about?? The most recent meeting about the crime problem was the same. It wasn't about crime, it was about all that he has accomplished against all odds of what a mess was left behind for him to clean up.

    blah blah blah same ol' broken worn out record. He needs to go digital

    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz 

  16. Gon Fishnin says:

    Mac goin fishnin and the only ting him going cetch is a assin come 2013

  17. Anonymous says:

    I think Mac should update us on the current position of his investigation instead of blowing off hot air.

  18. Anonymously IRON CLAD says:

    They need to face a LEGIT AUDIT of the FUEL CHARGE billing as well as the rates, but again –

    THE FUEL CHARGES billing what really needs a TRUE AUDIT. Trust me on that one!!!

  19. Anonymous says:

    It's not CUC that's at fault for high electricity bills.

    If you want to start handing out blame let's try –

    1. Yet another government that has done nothing to educate people on energy saving measures or has made any attempt (like dropping import duties) to work towards encouraging the importation of modern, energy efficient appliances to replace the junkyard of old equipment, particularly A/C units and freezers, currently in use.

    2. Yet another government that has done nothing to support genuine renewable energy projects like wind or solar power and solar hot water.

    3. Yet another government that seems to have refused to put energy efficiency requirements into the building codes. It's no use running A/C all day if the windows, doors, walls and roof of the structure are not built to keep out the heat.

    If you check out the CUC website they are, like most modern utility companies, offering advice on how to reduce your bills – most of which is probably being ignored because it's easier to bitch about the cost than actually do something to reduce electricity consumption.

    About the only areas you can really fault CUC on are their past obstruction to net metering, their 2007 flirtation with OTEC that diverted attention from other, more realistic, energy options and their refusal to shift from dieselto cleaner alternatives such as LPG despite the fact that some of their newer generators can use it as a fuel source .

     

  20. Libertarian says:

    Indeed, something has to be done with CUC and the unexplained high power bills people are receiving!  It seems that McKeeva Bush has made this auditing proposal too late- it should have been made from long time. Also, CUC needs competition real bad!  There is too much ego and a sense of getting away with whatever they want to do $$$.

  21. Old Sea Captain says:

    I wonder who will be the lucky recipient of the contract to select the Audit firm. Thats a cool easy million or so. The firm chosen will need a lot of employees as there is a long list of things that we need audited, Mr Cohen, Mr Thomas, Mr Piers, Mr Nation Building, Mr Boatswain Beach, Mr Churches, etc, etc. At the end of the day electricity will cost more as it is always the consumers who is saddled with paying for these hair brain schemes. No one has to buy CUC's electricity if its too expensive don't use it and you always have the option of producing your own.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Thank you mr Bush- This is only fair that they take this loss as we all did in Ivan. We the people did not invite Ivan into Cayman!!

    He also accused the opposition when it was in government of allowing CUC to charge customers millions of dollars in the wake of Hurricane Ivan to cover the firm’s losses in the storm, despite having insurance, which was more than most ordinary people had.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Post-Ivan, CIG should have reconstructed the transmission infrastructure (amortizing over 30 years instead of CUC's 3yr horizon) and leased the lines back toCUC. It's what most municipalities in the world do.  Had that happened, we could have buried the lines like they do on pretty islands, the public would have had lower power bills, and CIG would have much more consumer bargaining control than they have today.   

    • Anonymous says:

      and  most of us would still be in DARKNESS,  lol

    • Anonymous says:

      There are so many flaws in that argument it's not funny. For a start simply because we had a natural disaster did not mean that CUC's licence to transmit and distribute electricity was voided. Ithad the right to continue to supply electricity until the expiry of its licence. Furthermore since it was entitled to earn a certain return on rate base (rate base including the T&D infrastructure) this would have been in fundamental breach of the licence and have led to another law suit against the govt. Govt did not have the option simply to build transmission and distribution lines. "burying the linees" is actually a very expensive undertaking especially where you are replacing the entire infrastructure.  Do you understand that this could have cost more than $100m? Where do you think it would get the money from? Do understand CUC would have to be paid for its T&D lines that were not destroyed but no longer to be used? Replacing the entire T&D infrastructure is not consistent with lower electricity bills.

      Genius, a lot brighter minds have thought about these issues for a lot longer time than you have.  

        

  24. Anonymous says:

    FINALLY!!!!

  25. Simple days says:

    People of the Cayman Islands PLEASE ask yourself the one question.

     

    How did the government arrive at this number of 0.25 cent duty per gallon on diesel?

    OR the same question but worded differently

    What made 0.25 cent the magic number to say this will take government out of a ‘deficit’?

     

    In my mind there are only two real possibilities

     

    1. It was a ‘feel good’ number magically created and implemented
    2. There was a business case/study that arrived at this number

     

    My interpretation is, by Big Mac requesting an external audit it means that the 0.25 cent duty per gallon on diesel was a ‘feel good’ number BECAUSE if the government did a business case/study on implementing a 0.25 cent duty per gallon on diesel the government would have known the exact affect.

     

    Listen Big MAC has laid the SMACK down with his smoke, mirrors and sparkly lights. CUC is a business, like any business when the cost of doing business goes up it is passed on to the consumer. Why is EVERYONE so flabbergasted honestly…

     

    What was the cost of Milk earlier this year … What is the cost of milk today

    What wasthe cost of Gas earlier this year … What is the cost of Gas today

    What was the cost of Power earlier this year … What is the cost of Power today

     

    Please Note:-

    CUC was targeted PERIOD think people think

    CUC  is the only business in Cayman that makes guarantee profit not because some contract but because they are the only power provider this is not their fault

    The UDP government wanted in on the money making because they were in a ‘deficit’…

     

    The proof is in the pudding:-

     

    Why charge 0.25 on diesel? Why…

     

     

    FACTS

    CUC uses or consumes more than 75% of the Diesel imported to Cayman.

    CUC purchases thousands of gallons of fuel a year.

     

    All of which = BIG $

     

    PROOF in the pudding you say

    =>25 million surplus now enjoyed by the Cayman Islands Govenment

     

    CUC may have hedged and lost but it was the government who kept pushing CUC to hedge to save face for the public and keep them elected.

     

    CUC is a business and like any business in Cayman when cost of running your business goes up you pass it onto the consumer. Fortunately and Unfortunately in their business there will always be consumers willing to pay.

     

    So the point I am making is BECAUSE the government placed a 0.25 cent duty per gallon on diesel it made the cost of doing business higher for CUC and they are handing it over to you… the consumer.

     

    SO at the end BLAME the current government Big Smack OPENLY admitted that they the UDP government implemented the EXTRA cost on CUC and as a result the government was in surplus of some 25 million at the time. 

     

    Audit that Jack

     

    Food for thought:-

     

    WHY did it take the threat of a criminal investigation into Big Mac to drive out the FACT that the government made 25 million in surplus? PLEASE remember if we are in a ‘deficit’ that means  -$xxx,xxx,xxx.xx so the UDP made -$xxx,xxx,xxx.xx to bring the government to $0.00 then PLUS 25 million.

     

    For any government around the world this is great re-election material but there was no hint of this until the threat .

     

    How???????

    Someone please explain to me how?

     

    Smoke, mirrors and sparkly lights

     

  26. Anonymous says:

    Why dont you audit yourself mac? Why dont you attend PAC when requested? this is a waste of money and you are a waste of our time.

     

    Resign now

    • Chris Johnson says:

      I do not think Mac likes auditors ever since First Cayman Bank was audited by Coopers and Lybrand who were fired for writing nasty things in the audit report. Yet CIMA allowed them to continue . Guess who was in EXCO. Need I say more?

      • Mr. Spooner says:

        Nonsense, Mac was never part of First Cayman Bank according to him.  Still don't understand that one.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Doesn't his government already have an auditor who could do this for free? Oops…

  28. Energyman says:

    I completely agree with the anonymous posting below that suggests solar panels for Cayman Government buildings.

    This is one of the best comments I’ve ever read on this site because it presents a true solution to a very real problem. I agree that now is the time for our Government to lead by example and put solar on every building they use. The investment gives positive returns on both cash and our environment. Those dollars invested are not a gamble like the stock markets. Solar power works and is affordable TODAY.

    I encourage everyone on island – businesses and homeowners alike to press our government to move away from fossil fuels now. As all the government leaders of the Caribbean have been warned, “there will fast come a day when there won’t be any oil, at any price, that the Caribbean can afford”.
    This is not an anonymous posting.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Let's leave the politics aside and look at the issue fairly and reasonably. First, the headline is misleading: it is not rates that will be the subject of the audit but instead fuel costs. I think Mr. Bush is right when he says that there should be an external audit of CUC's costs and it should be conducted by experts in the field who are accustomed to such audits. The fact is that my electricity bill is as high as when the price of oil reached $140 per barrel 3 years ago whereas oil is now hovering around the $85 level. Bear in mind that both bills were under the new licence so the terms of the licence do not appear to be the issue. It was clearly a mistake for the govt. to increase duties on gas and diesel, and the PPM is right to point this out, but this cannot fully explain the differential. However, in fairness I also see that the prices at the pump, which have nothing to do with CUC, have also not declined for months notwithstanding the decline in the price of oil.

    It is hypocritical of Mr. Bush to accuse the Opposition of making statements purely for polticial gain when he makes statements like this which he knows are false and misleading and evidently for political gain:

    "There is much being said today by the opposition about the cost of electricity but we can’t forget that after Ivan they gave Caribbean Utilities something like $13 million, which we all paid for,” he said. “On top of that it had its own money, its own insurance, what many people didn’t have.”'

    Here are the facts:

    1. Following Hurricane Ivan CUC was contractually ENTITLED to a 9.5% increase in rates. If the previous govt. had allowed them to impose this it would permanently have been imbedded in rates. Instead of such a permanent increase the previous govt. negotiated with CUC to have a TEMPORARY SURCHARGE of 4.7% until it collected the sum of $13m. In other words nothing was "given" to CUC, but instead they received a great deal less than they were entitled to under their licence at the time.  

    2. Instead of $13m the sum of $11.2m was collected when the govt. again negotiated the remainder away in order for CUC to be granted a new licence.

    3. The reason the govt. was motivated to allow any surcharge at all is that (a) CUC had certain T&D assets which were destroyed and since Hurricane Andrew in 1992 such assets have been uninsurable; and (b) it is the practice within the electricity supply industry to permit natural disaster surcharges. Such surcharges were made by Florida Power and Light and by Jamaica Public Service for hurricane damage, for example. In other words there was no double recovery for destroyed assets as Mr. Bush suggests, and it was not possible for CUC to have insured such assets. Of course if it had been possible to insure them (at huge premiums) the public would have been paying for those premiums all along.  

    People, we are not going to reach intelligent solutions unless we speak truthfully about these issues.        

          

  30. insane says:

    He is right…..get someone else to find the real truth about it. It doesn't matter who is under contract right now, let someone else that knows the job and doesn't know people here to find out for us.

    They took 25cents out and many people if not all didn't see their bills getting back to normal.
    Remember something hurricane season the gas price used to go up and when it finish it usually goes down but…..from last year it never went down and this year look the same.
    It only went down a few cents when they got rid of the 25cents.
    Get your electricity bill from last year and compare it….

  31. Dred says:

    Let's keep in mind twice daily even a broken clock can be right.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Mac said "I'm going to get a company out of the United States or from Canada one that knows what they are doing".

    Is he suggesting the local top name Audit firms don't? The nerve!!! I'm sure the Auditor General is also more than capable and he is already under contract and being paid.

    Why send more money out of our struggling economy?

    • Anonymous says:

      "I'm going to get a company out of the United States or from Canada one that knows what they are doing".

      ————————————————————————————————————–

      He is obviously saying Caymanians are not qualified or capable of doing such a task.

       

    • Anonymous says:

      Big Mac is predisposed to dislike the findings of the Auditor General, so he would never do. But I'm sure one of our local hedge fund advisory companies could find him an auditor that he would be happy with.

    • anonymous says:

       I took it to mean that he would like a firm that is experienced in auditing energy companies. Considering the abuses in those areas that were rampant in the states a few years ago, like California, it might not be a bad idea. Fuel has been dropping in price for well over a month.

      I"m not seeing the drop at the gas staion or on my light bill Something seems amiss. Surely a local firm could complete this task, but they might benefit from some assistance. I would guess that there are auditors that are specialized in this area and know where to look for red flags.  

  33. Kent McTaggart says:

    So after reading this entire article what I take from it is:

    1) Bush says $0.25 is not the cause of the extreme cost of electricity.

    2) Bush is doing an audit not to lessen the burden on the people he represents, rather to cover his butt.

    3) He doesn't trust one of the many very local capable multinational firms to handle the audit.

    4) The money spent for this audit will not go into the local economy as he entends to hire a foreign firm.

    4) The audit is going to cost the people of Cayman, and for the purpose of placing blame somewhere other than his government.

    My opinion is that this is not "his" government, it is "our" government!  the "opposition" is a part of "our" government, and the only way "we" should pay for an audit is if the purpose is to find ways to lower the burden on us, not to exonerate a paticular party!  Ifthat party wants to exonerate themselves, they can foot the bill, not we the people!

     

    $0.02

    Kent McTaggart

  34. Anonymous says:

    The Premier is so obviously playing politics with the issue of electricity rates. This external audit bringing in overseas consultants to do what could be done here is just more spending our money to score political points. An audit is an audit is an audit. There is no reason to speind a huge amount of our money trying to make himself less of a buffoon. It won't work.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Leave CUC alone. Why are some people never satisfied? CUC is by far the best utility in the Caribbean. Why can't the people leave it that way.  Do some people really like to experience power outages? Do they want more of these.  No matter how good anything is, most people think there is a free lunch somewhere, and sick their government on to find it. Well, sorry people, free lunches do not exist. You already are enjoying a free lunch. You will pay in spades for any 'free' lunch the government 'gives' you.  

    • Anonymous says:

      People wont leave it that way because it is not about who is the 'best' it is about 'cost'

      CUC has done little to look at alternate generation.  The cost of fuel has been rising for years and very fewpeople I suspect think it will go down.  CUC is using the most expensive way to generate electricity.  They dont care about the cost because there is no competition and they are lining their pockets and the pockets of the shareholders.

    • Che Guevara says:

      Leave CUC alone? Are you mad? Were you here after Ivan? I guess not judging by your rant.

      I am not saying that CUC are a wotless company. What I am saying is that they do need to be audited. But, here's what I say, have our Auditor General do it. He is being paid already, and we all know that he doesn't like MacDummy.

      I feel you were not here after Ivan because if you were, you would not have made that comment. Do you fail to remember the surcharge? What a load of BS that was. Let me simplify this for you: If I owned Burgerking for say, and I then charged you CI$1.50 instead of CI$1, because I need to recoup my losses and damage to my building sustained in hurricane, what would you do? Of course you would, you would go elsewhere, right down the road to Wendys. Exactly!!! Why should you have to pay for that damaged caused.  And as you can read from MacDummy, they had insurance and excess money to pay for it, thats called their 'profit'.

      So please don't come on here witrh sill;y rants about leave them alone.

      And I can gaurantee you this, if LIME still had their monopoly, along with UselessStar TV, they would have no doubtedly done the same. If you were here back then, remember the same tricks Cable & Wotless did? When it was announced that more companies coming, rates dropped so quick it was sickening. Free installation of internet at your home where they used to charge CI$200 (thats a very nice offer from them just to go straight to NOTHING). AND, everyday in the middle of the compass there was a big writeup with a heading that makes me ill to this day that said; "To all our valued customers" (puke, vomit)

       

      I am not a supporter of MacDummy or Alden Stallone, I do not support any party politics and think they should be abolished as thats whats ruining my country

      So don't come back stating that I'm one or the other. I'm neither. I also think its time we, a country as whole, come together and rid ourselves of political parties.

      Let us not ask what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you kidding? We're drowning in our electrical bills.  The fuel surcharge is at least double what the actual usage is.  You think people are looking for a 'free lunch'? None of us are expecting that.  We've never had problems paying our bills in the past because what was charged was fair and it was what was used.  It is no longer that way. 

      Our CUC bills have doubled and some tripled because of this charge.  People who were just barely getting by are now not even doing that.  Too many can't  find the hundreds of extra dollars that their bill has increased and have gone behind and not been able to pay their bills and have been cut off.  That's happening all over.  Granted CUC cannot be blamed for the cutoff.   Yes, they did it but it was because they didn't get paid.  The problem is that they didn't get paid – not because the person didn't want to – they couldn't.  They can no longer find the money! 

      Some time back we could figure our expenses and plan for them.  Mortgage, CUC, C&W, water and food.  They were all manageable on what they were making.  Then suddenly one of those bills almost triples but their salary hasn't gone up! Can't you see the problem?  Nobody says CUC isn't doing a good job – it's that we can no longer afford what they're charging. If these high costs haven't affected you you must be making some very high salary.  Unlike most of us who can no longer keep ahead of it any more.  I hope the audit is done.  Then we'll at least see what, if anything, can be done to help us.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wahhhh. Why don't you people just leave, Britney alone…?

  36. How Much Is That Voter In The Window? says:

    Yet another waste of public resources. Audit away old boy, you will spend a fortune and find nothing. Guaranteed.

    Ezzard has the jump on you on these populist vote buying schemes. Move on to the next one already. This one is beating a dead horse.

  37. Anonymous says:

    I would also suggest people take an energy audit of their homes.  with some of the stories i've read here, I suspect people are leaving their windows and doors open with the low efficiency AC running.

  38. Profound Reality! says:

     "Politics" in Cayman has become a 'back and forth sissy fight"  between a small community of politicians biting and barking at each other while the community at large sinks further into despair.

    While i admire his ambitions I cringe with embarrassment at the thought of his relentless and inmature 'hard on' for the opposition.Concern yourself with the responsibility bestowed upon you Mr Bush

    If both parites dont shape up Mr Bush,his entouage, and the opposition will  find themselves out of work next election.

    As for CUC, its time we start looking at alternate energy sources. Fossil fuel dependancy has outlasted its time.

    • Politics says:

      WE NEED A HERO!  We need new blood.  The two party system and these power-FULL overspending spoiled politicians must go.

      People, we never had this kind of corruption and cronyism years ago.  We never spent every last dollar on overseas audits and consultants, silly ideas and expensive self monuments.  This is just another ploy to get votes and I'm tired of it.

      UDP and PPM = interchangeable politicians who need to retire.  Thanks, but we are NO better off since this silly 2-party thing started.

      It is TIME for our respected businessmen to band together, sed aside their personal issues, and amongst them find us an honest Hero who can intelligently talk to the UK, meet with the private sector, work with the future of Cayman and stop this political nonsense.

      We are too small for political parties.  All we need is a few good honest people to run this counrty with HUMILITY AND INTEGRITY.

      Please NOMINATE a few honest people we can ask to run for the next election.  Good business sense require and no history of insanity please.

       

  39. James says:

    don't quite understand, Mac is going to do something possitive for a change, who is this masked man?

    • Chris Johnson says:

      CUC has an independent auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers whom I know quite well. I very much doubt if they have missed anything during their audit. They are well aware of the licensing arrangements with the Government and furthermore they are aware someone is always looking over their shoulder. A further audit is a waste of time and will prove nothing. It will reinforce the smokescreen hiding the real issues facing the Government, which they seem unable to handle.

      • ExAAAuditor says:

        I wonder if  this is what people said about Arthur Anderson's audit of Enron – surely they couldn't have missed anything…but wait….

        • Chris Johnson says:

          I do not think that CUC has 800 subsidiaries. As an ex auditor you are comparing apples with oranges. Does that explain why you are an ex auditor?

        • Fly on the wall says:

          As an ex auditor myself Chris is right. Moreover Andersens went bankrupt. Sounds like you worked on the Enron audit!

    • James says:

      it was a joke people…

  40. Anonymous says:

    Before asking CUC for audited books, I think MAC should provided audited books for the Nation Building Fund.

    • Anonymous says:

      Or how about books for the government accounts in general? Or, a stretch further, AUDITED books for the government.

  41. anonymouse says:

    It's all a conspiracy mr.bush and res we are all riled up. But you are the cause not the Opposition. Face the Facts. We have lost all confidence in you and yours. Specially your future replacement Big Mouth/

  42. Anonymous says:

    Dear Mr. Premier, first of all, I want you to consider for a moment what you say and the consequences of what you say.  These kinds of pronouncements are bad for business, the same business you want to attract to this island. 

    Secondly, why are you going to waste Government's money to bring someone down here to tell you what the ERA must know about how the rate structure and how it works at CUC?  Are they not the regulatory body who oversees this company? If they are not doing their job, you need to take the necessary action.

    I understand that you have  to rile up the voters and find something  or someone to attack at these meetings but this announcement is nonsensical and ill advised. 

    Rather than pay out this money which the country so badly needs, why not send up Mr. Cline Glidden who seems to understand the industry to meet with the CUC people and the ERA people and let them address your concerns.

    I am a business person who invested significant sums of money to make a living here.  I am wondering if your voters or people who come to you to complain just does not like my business or feel that I am making too much of a profit could result in your announcing an audit of my company.  So if some people come and say they are paying too much for water, or they are paying too much at the supermarket, will these companies be audited too?  Will you audit  gas stations? We pay a lot their to fill up our vehicles.

    This kind of talk is not only bad for businesses who are here but will not sit well with would be investors. 

    You may want to cut out the politicking for a moment. swallow your pride and arrange for a meeting with the CUC people and get an understanding of what is really going on.

    These kinds of headlines leave a bad taste in the mouths of business people like me and I can think of others who will be raising an eyebrow or shaking their heads in dismay  today!. 

    I hope that sensible Caymanians and residents will see the folly in such statements and not let their emotions and political views cloud their judgement and understanding of the realities.

     

     

    • anonymouse says:

      Thank you 05:29 for a well written letter. Yes we are as offended as you are and we know the game he is playing. He has run out of common sense ideas and as many well known reputable Auditing Firms that are on Island he wants to bring one from overseas. As Mr. Johnson so well said Price Waterhouse are the Auditors and would not compromise their reputation. He is acting as if he wants to buy time, waste more money and hopefully find someone who will not be part of " THE CONSPIRACY". As you said so well set up a meeting with the principals of CUC as we all agree that our cost are exorbitant and open the dialogue. As long as he or Foolio don't attend I believe that there are others that can speak with sense. I did not even waste my expensive gas to go listen to his Paranoid ideas because he is all about Politricks. Only wish we could get ridof him a.s.a.p., lock him in a box and throw away the key.

  43. T.L. Haranguer says:

    Well if CUC is paying 3 bucks for gas from Esso amd Texaco and 75 cents tax to goverment, who is making the 2 bucks more that I am paying at the gas station for a gallon of deisel ?

    oligopolistic ripoff.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Dear Mac, a better move would be to forget the expense of the outside audit and combine the money saved with next year's 10 million dollar "Nation Building Fund" and use this money to buy solar panels for government buildings. At the current cost ofsoalr panels the payback period is less than 5 years. This means we the people can save over 2.8 million dollars per year to power our government buildings which returns the equivalent of a free 10 million dollar Nation Building Fund in about 4 years. The payback period gets shorter as the price of oil goes up, which it will continue to do.

     

    NOW is the time to prepare for the coming oil crisis. If you want to check on CUC, I suggest reading their annual report. It shows exactly how they produce theri bills and what their charges consist of. You don't need to pay an auditing firm to tell you this. The money you save by going solar could feed a whole lot of poor people who go hungry each day here in Cayman. Going solar could be the one greatest achievement of your tenure in office that will be remembered for decades to come.

  45. Anonymous says:

    Does he ever learn?  Why can't he speak like a normal human being and stopthe crazy rants against PPM?  PPM, please ignore him.  This doesn't even dignify a response.