New Energy Legislation Threatens Grenada’s
Electricity Sector Reliability and Costs
The new Electricity Supply Bill and Public Utilities Regulatory Commission Bill presently being raced through Parliament by the Government of Grenada will fundamentally alter and restructure every single aspect of how Grenada’s nationwide electricity sector is owned, operated and regulated. These new bills unilaterally scrap the current legislative and regulatory framework that has successfully allowed Grenada to enjoy 20+ years of world-class electricity service and growth provided on a universally available, highly efficient, continuously reliable and non-discriminatory basis.
Government’s intention is to replace the successful existing framework with a politically motivated, ideologically conceived and totally discretionary new regulatory regime. That new regime will rely upon two key components: (1) an operationally inefficient market design (which is contrary to international best standards for stand-alone island economies like Grenada’s), plus (2) an undeveloped, expensive, totally discretionary and politically controlled new regulatory process. The unfortunate results of this ill-conceived scheme will be to increase costs, impair reliability and foster discriminatory treatment for Grenada’s electricity consumers.
During the 20+ years since Grenlec was privatised, Grenlec’s management has maintained a steadfast focus on providing the Grenadian people with the world-class electricity service that they now enjoy and have come to rely upon. Grenlec has always viewed this core mission in non-political terms, working in a diligent, professionally competent and good faith manner with whichever political party held the reins in Grenada. However, candor and clarity are essential at this present time -- so it must be noted that the roots of this new legislation lie in the current Government leaders’ decades-long personal antipathy to the 1994 privatisation of Grenlec.
Despite those leaders’ emphatic forecast that the privatisation would be calamitous for the nation, the facts and operational results have given incontrovertible proof to the contrary. Unwilling to be dissuaded by those facts, Government’s current leaders are rushing to once again place every aspect of Grenlec’s operations, management and finances under their personal control.
Consistent with that bias, Government has consistently rebuffed all initiatives (including those by neutral international organizations) to join Grenlec in collaborative efforts to develop operationally workable, legally sound options to optimize economic efficiency and sustainability of Grenada’s electricity sector. And yet: notwithstanding Grenlec’s stated willingness to put every issue on the table for discussion, not even once in 20+ years have the current Government leaders ever sought, or accepted, discussions with Grenlec to explore what options might be available to help moderate costs or shift technologies for Grenada’s electricity sector.
Instead, Government appears determined to “win” a battle of its own creation. Regrettably, this confrontational approach will only result in impaired reliability, very significant (and needless) costs, and decreased transparency for Grenada’s electricity sector. Unfortunately, these consequences will ultimately be borne by the people of Grenada, so we hope they will challenge Government’s political leaders over their critically misguided insistence on pursuing the new bills.