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Belco’s solar power rates under review

Environmentally friendly: solar panels (File photograph)

Plans by Belco to adjust its rates for customers who install solar power are to be reviewed.

The utility company made its request to the Energy Commission on August 15 to change its rates for residential net metering and commercially renewable energy.

Special rates were adopted in 2010 to encourage the development of solar power, allowing homes and businesses to send their excess electricity into the grid at the same rate paid for power.

The incentive, initially set for 200 new customers, ultimately gained 335 participants by last month, when Belco proposed switching to a compensation of “avoided cost” for new installations — mainly covering the cost of fuel.

Grant Gibbons, the Minister of Economic Development, has called for a commission inquiry to ensure that a range of perspectives had been considered.

Dr Gibbons has requested the inquiry’s findings by the end of this month, and appointed Raj Barua as a special advisor to the commission for the inquiry’s duration.

Under the Electricity Act 2016, the regulation of electricity is ultimately to be handed over from the Energy Commission to the Regulatory Authority of Bermuda.