The St. Lucia Electricity Services Limited (LUCELEC), the sole supplier of electricity, has warned consumers to brace for increased charges for the commodity as it blamed the ongoing war in Ukraine for affecting the price and availability of fuel around the world.
LUCELEC said the price of oil has “more than doubled as a result” and despite its fuel-price hedging program and renewable energy efforts to date, “regrettably, the sharp increase in oil prices will result in increases in the fuel surcharge for electricity bills”.
LUCELEC managing director, Trevor Louisy, said through its hedging program, the company is able to “lock-in” the price it pays for some of its fuel.
“This means that what the company pays for the percentage hedged remains the same despite the price of oil on the world market. The balance of the fuel purchased is determined by the current market price.
“As a result, when there are significant changes in the price of oil as is occurring right now because of continued unrest in Ukraine – it will affect the fuel surcharge and what customers pay for electricity on a month-to-month basis,” he added.
The company, which is the only commercial generator, transmitter, distributor, and seller of electrical energy in St. Lucia, said fuel price hedging is one of the strategies it uses to minimize major fluctuations in what customers pay for electricity monthly.
“The price LUCELEC pays for fuel is factored into customer bills through the Fuel surcharge or the fuel cost adjustment that is applied to the units of electricity customers use every month. It is added to the Basic Energy Rates applied to each unit of electricity LUCELEC sells.”
The company said in keeping with reporting requirements, LUCELEC publishes the monthly fuel cost adjustment in a local newspaper and on its website, adding “this current fuel crisis is a very difficult situation, caused by external factors over which LUCELEC has no control.
“But there is something customers can do, and that is, use energy wisely. Given the uncertainty about the duration of this crisis, everyone should take control of their energy usage and avoid waste. Every kilowatt-hour counts,” LUCELEC said, urging consumers to monitor their monthly electricity usage.
It has also promised to launch an energy efficiency campaign in the media and on social media platforms “to provide practical tips to advise customers on how to manage their electricity use.
“LUCELEC will continue to monitor the global situation and keep customers up to date on how their electricity bills may be affected. The company is confident that by working together, the impact of this challenging time may be minimized.”