General manager of DOMLEC, Bertila Leblanc-Mckenzie, says the company has a geothermal team in place and is in discussion with the French company assigned by the government to do the local plan for geothermal energy.
She said the company will embrace that form of energy generation in order for customers to pay cheaper electricity bills.
“Once it means that our customers have cheaper electricity, because at DOMLEC one of our objectives is least cost electricity for our customers, and once geothermal is going to bring that, then we embrace it,” she said at a press conference on Tuesday.
She stated that tests in the Roseau Valley indicate that at least 10 megawatts of electricity can be produced and company is making the necessary preparation for distributing that electricity.
“You would be aware that when the last series of tests were conducted in the Valley that the preliminary results indicated that we will be able to get 10 megawatt of output from one well,” the new general manager pointed out. “So what DOMLEC is doing currently is, we are seeking to put things in place and making the necessary preparations that when that comes on stream that DOMLEC could be ready to access that output onto the transmission distribution radar.”
However, she said, she is aware of the new challenges posed by geothermal.
“And as such I have assessed the situation and basically I think we need to look at what is happening now with DOMLEC and how we can improve on the service to customers,” she noted. “The whole world is moving away from fossil fuels because of the volatility of the prices associated with fossil fuels. We cannot just bury our heads in the sand and say we want to hold on to fuel oil. It makes no sense.”
So far the government has spent over $50-million on exploring Dominica’s geothermal potential.
Leblanc-Makenzie stated further in spite of the fact that DOMLEC has not received an increase in rate for several years, the company was able to achieve a satisfactory profit.
The new DOMLEC boss said this was done by looking at the operational costs of the company and not by increasing the rate of electricity to costumers.
“We made that happen by looking at our operational costs and seeking to decrease those so that we can achieve a profit,” she stated. “It has not happened because we have increased electricity rate, it has happened because DOMLEC has examined its operations and tweak its processes, its procedures and encourage our employees to work better so that we can achieve.”
Leblanc-McKenzie’s appointment as general manager of DOMLEC was officially made public on Monday.
She is the first woman to hold that post.