Regulator ready to oversee power sector
The Regulatory Authority has finalised the new licensing framework for the electricity sector.
In a statement, the regulator noted that third parties had expressed interest in offering alternatives to Belco as sources of power generation.
And the RA added that it was aware of the “chronic and long-term lack of investment in generating assets and transmission network by Belco” and was ready to consider proposals from the utility, once Belco was licensed under the new framework.
Sean Durfy, Belco’s chief executive officer has been vocal in recent months in expressing the urgent need for approval from the regulator and government for approval of its capital plans to rebuild its generating infrastructure.
Belco wants to decommission half of its 160-megawatt capacity over the next three years and replace it with new more efficient natural gas-burning generators providing 60 megawatts.
The Regulatory Authority, which supervises the telecommunications sector and which was given the added responsibility of power through the Electricity Act last October, said it had received ministerial approval for its new electricity licensing regime.
Matthew Copeland, CEO of the Regulatory Authority, said: “Within several months of being enacted for electricity regulation and implementing bank finance to commence responsibilities, the Authority has delivered an entire electricity licensing and regulatory regime for Bermuda.
“In contrast, other jurisdictions have taken several years to complete the same. Moreover, the regime implemented in Bermuda has utilised the best regulatory methods and practices available, to ensure that any substantial forms of market failure in the Bermuda electricity sector will be resolved.
“The Authority is a small team, with a wide range of responsibilities, ranging from operational activities such as Government fee collection and the issuing of radio licences, to delivering new electricity sector regulation, as well as the substantial regulation of the telecommunications sector.
“The Authority is shortly due to make significant announcements with regards to telecommunications and how it intends to resolve instances of market failure in the same sector. I would like to thank all the staff of the Authority for their work and efforts that have brought us to this point.”
The statement said that after several rounds of consultation and drafting, the RA received consent for the final form of electricity sector licences from the Minister responsible for the electricity sector in both the previous and current governments last month.
These licences, as well as a licence application process developed by the RA, have now been enacted as general determinations, completing their final and formal legislative stage.
The three types of licence will cover bulk generation, one for renewable and one for non-renewable, and another for transmission, distribution and retail.
Belco is eligible for a bulk generation licence and the TD&R licence, the RA stated.
The statement added: “The Authority is aware of the chronic and long-term lack of investment in generating assets and transmission network by Belco.
“The Authority will consider this area carefully, and fully, at the point when Belco is licensed and when it makes any related submissions and requests, as per the requirements of the licences.
“No such submissions or requests from Belco have been made to the Authority pursuant to the licensing regime and related regulation.”
It added: “The Authority notes that various third-party entities have expressed interest in receiving electricity sector licences, so as to invest and build substantive generating capacity in Bermuda, including via renewables.”
The RA added that it was ready to process and consider any licence applications made.
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