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Belco welcomes regulation change

Belco’s Pembroke plant (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Power firm Belco said yesterday it was pleased regulation changes will allow it to sign up more people to sell excess energy back into the grid.

Sean Durfy, Belco CEO, added the company was happy to see “legislative deficiencies” tackled and welcomed an order from the Regulatory Authority that required the company to pay back people who have already put electricity from alternative sources like solar power into the grid.

Mr Durfy said: “We are very pleased to be able to compensate all our distributed generation customers with an amount that is rightfully owed to them after a lengthy impasse during which Belco was legally unable to compensate certain distributed generation customers.”

He added: “For over a year Belco had been in discussions with the Regulatory Authority and the Government with respect to amending legislative deficiencies within the Electricity Act 2016, including to enable Belco to legally enter into the standard contracts required under the Act and to compensate all customers wishing to engage in distributed generation.”

He said: “At one point, because we were unable to compensate certain customers without contravening the Act, Belco proposed to the Authority that it would comply with any instructions from the Authority to remit payment to uncompensated customers after the legislative deficiencies were resolved.”

In 2016 legislation was amended to state contracts to put energy into the grid could only be put in place if they were consistent with the Integrated Resource Plan.

However IRP is still going through the consultation process, which Belco said meant it could not sign additional contracts. New amendments to address the problem were approved by the House of Assembly this summer and came into effect three weeks ago.

The Regulatory Authority announced at the weekend that it would require Belco to enter purchase agreements with any energy generators that meet the requirements.

Belco said it will today issue 30-day notices of amendments for those with existing contracts and then contact those without contracts.

Mr Durfy said: “Having received the order, we are now in the process of reaching out to the impacted customers.

“Once signed contracts are in place with those who do not currently have them the outstanding compensation, which totals approximately $11,000 overall based on the Authority’s defined feed-in-tariff rate of 17.36 cents per kWh, will be made as soon as possible.”