URCA looking to advance Small Scales Renewable Generation (SSRG) programme in 2020

URCA looking to advance Small Scales Renewable Generation (SSRG) programme in 2020

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The registered capacity of small-scale renewable generation in 2019 grew from 1.97 MW to 3.6 MW according to the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA), noting that extensive education and advancement of the SSRG programme is a top priority in 2020.

The utilities regulator in its draft 2020 annual plan noted, “Promotion of the Small Scales Renewable Generation (SSRG) programme was a key initiative of URCA during 2019. During the 2019 calendar year the registered capacity has grown from 1.97MW to 3.61MW. URCA has worked to promote the SSRG programme through its pop-up offices, talk show appearances, and social media posts during 2019, however, due to other competing matters including a tumultuous year of power quality and reliability issues, exacerbated by Hurricane Dorian’s damage to power networks on Grand Bahama and Abaco, URCA has not been successful in conducting the extensive education and advancement programme that was planned. URCA has rescheduled this initiative as a key Tier 1 priority for 2020.”

URCA also noted that the 2019 calendar year has been one of ‘many challenges’ within the electricity sector.

“URCA faced various challenges during 2019 from its two primary licensees, BPL and Grand Bahama Power Company (GBPC),” the plan continued.

“During the second trimester BPL suffered significant generation shortfalls in New Providence; further challenges were caused due to the decimation by Hurricane Dorian of the electricity supply systems in Grand Bahama and Abaco, the second and third largest economic areas behind New Providence; GBPC’s challenges to URCA’s regulatory jurisdiction in Freeport continued in the Courts; and BPL’s non-compliance with URCA’s regulatory requirements resulted in URCA issuing a Final Determination and Order penalizing BPL for failing to provide information in response to URCA’s enquiries.”

The plan read: “ In light of those issues, some of which were before the courts, at the onset of the year it was envisioned that URCA would concentrate its ES activities on the advancement of consumer based initiatives such as the advancement of Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation, while implementing regulatory initiatives such as efficiency studies and consumer protection.

“However, it became evident that more significant intervention was urgently needed to address the safety, reliability, and quality of supply concerns being experienced throughout the country.

It added: “URCA’s resources were directed to these initiatives through investigations and regulatory intervention and the consumer based focus as envisioned was not achieved.”