Shareholders of DOMLEC – Dominica Electricity Services – were being told at the company’s annual general meeting on Wednesday that DOMLEC spent EC$42.9 million dollars on fuel for the year 2011, more than half the cost of its total expenses.
The company puts its total expenses for that year at EC$83.4 million.
However Chairman Robert Blanchard says 2011 was a good year for Domlec, when “prudent management of our operational and financial commitments yielded an after tax profit of EC$7.75 million”.
Domlec’s total revenue for 2011 was EC$98.3 million.
According to the company, it has paid dividends of EC$1.8 million to ordinary shareholders for 2011.
DOMLEC puts its share capital at EC$10.4 million, its retained earnings at $51.7 million and the company’s total equity at $62.1 million.
Blanchard has been telling share holders that the company’s mission is to “deliver affordable and reliable energy today while making the investments needed to ensure a sustainable supply in the future”.
However with more than half the company’s expenses going into the purchasing of fuel for its generators, and the surcharge imposed on consumers to offset rising world market prices, many are questioning the “affordable” part of that mission statement as they continue to complain about high electricity bills.
And that’s not likely to change any time soon.
Dominica’s Independent Regulatory Commission (IRC) says the fuel surcharge that consumers of electricity have been paying from January to the present time has been increasing because of higher world oil market prices.
The commission’s Executive Director Lance McCaskey said recently that a steady rise in fuel prices on the international market in recent times saw the price increase from EC$11.74 in January to EC$12.59 in April (2012).
According to McCaskey the increases in fuel prices have directly affected local electricity rates.
He indicated that the fuel surcharge escalation for the period January to April had moved from 40 cents per kilowatt hour in January to 53 cents by April.
McCaskey said the IRC was working closely with DOMLEC (Dominica Electricity Services) to see how they could minimize the fuel prices.
He said however that the trend of rising world market prices made this difficult.