Good news is on the horizon for Barbadian electricity consumers even as oil prices continue to rise to record high levels in the world market.
The commissioning process for The Barbados Light & Power's two new 30 Megawatt low speed diesel generators has started in preparation for their handing over for full operation by the end of May 2005.
These generators will operate on the cheapest low grade residual fuel and, with an efficiency of over 44%, will be the most efficient of Light & Power's generators. The resulting fuel savings will be passed directly to customers through the fuel clause adjustment.
According to Managing Director, Andrew Gittens: "While it is difficult to predict what the impact rising oil prices will have on electricity prices over the next few months, we project that when both of these new low speed diesels are in full operation the price of electricity will be over 10% less than it would have been if these generators were not in operation."
Construction of these generators, which started in September 2003 under turnkey contract with Hyundai Heavy Industries of Korea, has progressed well and on Tuesday March 22 the first of the two generators was started for the first time.
Since then several tests have been carried out successfully while the generator was operating off load. Shortly load tests on this first generator will start and this will be followed soon after by similar tests on the second generator.
Manager Marketing & Corporate Communications, Stephen Worme advised that the Company will be working to minimize interruptions to the electricity supply during the testing phase. He said: "We will do our best to avoid any outages as these load tests are being carried out. However, if any do occur we will be prepared to respond to minimise the impact they have on our customers". Worme added: "We appreciate the understanding of our customers through this period as we expand the electricity system to meet to the growing demand for electricity and to provide them with a safe and reliable electricity supply."