IRC powerless to prevent fuel surcharge increase

IRC Executive Director Lance McCaskey (right) and Chairman Eluid Williams (left) at Thursday's press conference

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 told a news conference on Thursday 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 Dominica is highly dependent on fuel for its electricity generation (65 per cent comes from fossil fuel sources) and 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.

The IRC official said the commission was working with the electricity company to effect savings and improve its generating efficiency.

Asked whether DOMLEC, which is boasting of having made $7.75 million after tax profits in 2011, couldn’t be made to subsidise the surcharge, McCaskey indicated that the company was already subsidizing the cost of fuel by 2.5 per cent.

And IRC Chairman Eluid Williams indicated that legislation would be required to get a greater subsidy from DOMLEC on the surcharge matter.

According to the IRC, Dominica is better off than some of its neighbors on the surcharge issue.

It says in April (2012) the fuel surcharge for St Vincent was 56.62 cents (EC), Grenada 67.84 cents, and Barbados 67 cents (EC).

Dominica’s 53 cents in April compares favorably with those figures, McCaskey told reporters.

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  1. True Dominican
    May 4, 2012

    It is very unfortunate that the many organizations set up to look after the interest of the consumers have negate their positions and is looking into the direction of fulling their pocket.
    if one ask the I R C what policy do they have as it relates to alternative energy, the only thing they will point to is the geo thermal energy , why, because it is being promoted by the government who appointed them on that committee, nothing on wind energy when we have so much high elevations that can easily tap the wind, nothing on solar when as a tropical islane we have an abundance of sunshine in the caribbean, we have several waterfalls in the north, in the south in the east that at least another one can be tapped to produce electricity, yet we turn to the people and say we cannot mitigate the cost of electricity; what utter robbish.
    when Petro caribe was introduced it main objective was to mitigate the high cost of fuel, now there is no such talk in that direction,
    you people sitting on the various boards, have you all had children to face up to the realities of tommorrow, the whole of the western world is sinking there will be no where to hide what you gonna do then, the time is now put on your thinking cap, put the necessary measures in place so that we can be more self sufficient from now on and save Dominica.
    do it while there may be a littl help still coming our way.

  2. awa wi
    May 4, 2012

    awa wi dem man dere need to join the west indies tour of england cause dey have more spin dan shane shillingford. ten wickets is joke for dem fellas dey already done out 70,000

  3. Engineer/Businessman
    May 4, 2012

    people why domlec not getting back into hydro we cant afford this, this country is to poor for this were are the people going to get more money, how are we going to attract new businesses with this hike in fuel surcharge when these business 70% of there business operation is from electricity we got to get real in this place, domlec knows better than that domlec using this type of market to make more money on the people because using HYDRO (water) they cant make those high profits on the people why can IRC or the government see this what is happening, domlec told the people when they were on hydro it was costly to run it,& it would affect the lake that water levels would drop, nonsense that was to fool the people who don’t know about hydro & most people bought that story … a hydro plant don’t dry rivers or lakes up they recycle the water back in to the same source the rivers, IRC do your jobs well,let domlec give you an alternative to this fuel business because dominica is not in a state right now to afford that increase.

  4. brois
    May 3, 2012

    mr mascaskey what is your purspose?you are defending and making excuses for the same company you and your fellow board members should be regulating!!why don’t you suggest solutions?i hope when the prices fall on the world market it will drop here too , thanks to you!!all this “tough tings” hurts my heart . . dominica will stay poor when there is not enough people geting off from poverty.choosing an over price electricity bill or food for the family is the choice!!

  5. Is so ....
    May 3, 2012

    IRC powerless to prevent hikes in fuel surcharge and increases in electricity bills. But Commissioners getting hefty bucks.

    IPO talk of difficulties in conducting proper investigation into assets owned by PM that are not compatible with his salary, because they say they need forensic specialist. Police Chief could not arrest the Lawyer as ordered to do by the court, because, as he said, he was out of State.

    Investigations stalled into GON Emanuel, his wife and the police Officer firebombing criminal act because the Chief claimed the culprit, who confessed, has problems with the law and so his confession could not be credible, could not be believed.

    Rubbish Bin and fertlizer scandals, but no investigations. No case. Laws are being disregarded just like that in several instances, nothing happens depending on ones links.

    Institutions are failing the people big time. So who is supposed to regulate DOMLEC and ensure the people are protected from high utility bills? The majority of Dominicans will continue to complain, but will do absolutely nothing about it. Who sold DOMLEC recently to the foreign WRB Co.? Who chastised Coipel, CAHUR and the other concerned citizens for trying to ease up the pressure and to advocate against those high electricity bills?

    Ask the authorities about Petro Caribe? Remind them of what they told the people regarding electricity rates and cost of fuel. Is so Dominica come? So what reallky is the role of IRC then? If IRC could do nothing, then shouldn’t IRC close up and save the tax-payers those hefty sums being paid for not-being-able-to-do-anything to ease up the plight of the people?

  6. Anonymous
    May 3, 2012

    Yet still profit are increase. Everyone looking for his/her pocket not for the customers. Hmmmmmmm Shameful….

  7. pawol
    May 3, 2012

    Plain rubbish.. we have to stop that thing in this blasted Country what on earth is happening… I hope we seeing what happening around the world.. plz give us a break.. what blasted excuse is this..2.5%.. who d hell does people they are God? Shame on us.. people lets take our companie back…

  8. Bring Em Young Mormo
    May 3, 2012

    The 7 million dollar question is.What will become of Domlec and it’s antiquated inefficient Diesel burning generators when the Thermal project comes on stream. What will their role be will they be allowed to purchase power then resell it at an exhorbitant profit we Dominicans must not allow Domlec to become a major player again Domlec has seen the writing on the wall so before they become obsolete they are milking Dominicans under the guise of fuel surcharge With Thermal production the excuse of fuel surcharge goes out the window

  9. May 3, 2012

    The IRC were put in place to do a job for which they are powerless to do??!!!!
    Well well well! look magic in Dominica.
    they should resign.
    come on Dominicans , it is time you all take control of all you country.

    • anonymous2
      May 3, 2012

      I second that. There is absolutely no shortage of oil. All oil is not from fossil fuels as was previously thought. Most of the oil is just in pools underneath the earths surface in certain areas. The costs come in when they try to extract the oil and develop the wells and operation. There is a surplus of greedy individuals though.

  10. bless
    May 3, 2012

    I am so tired with these people fooling the poor. Times I feel I am not in the real world. Dominicans are being played by everyone. We the poor people of this land are like door mats. Institutions are set up in this country to trick the people. Wake up, Shate!!

  11. tect nee cal lity
    May 3, 2012

    i am previlaged to have been adviced by BOB MARLEY in songs and more.
    so when the oil prices drop on the world market,how comes it still stay up in Dominica, and when it goes up higher it stept up to the higher price..
    i can use a number of DICE songs through the years to say what i cannot say in a few words here.
    follow the leader speech to the business sector;
    we are in it to make money,
    now they are sucking seed(succeding)while DOMINICANS are sucking salt.PAPPYMET.

  12. simple mind
    May 3, 2012

    IRC,Domlec made $7.75million after-tax profit,after all….keep milking,when the ducts start bleeding you’ll stop.

  13. out of nowhere
    May 3, 2012

    Why in the first place did the government sell DOMLEC.The blame falls on the seller.There are too many rivers in DA to produce hydro electricity for us to buy fuel to generate electricity. $7 plus million dollars in profit and only 2.5 in subsidy,This is robbing the poor man.When will blue or red see the light.People don’t care of each other but their pockets.Pure capitalist.Why do we sell our resources to foreigners.Do you think they care about us.Think again.What is the Pm doing about it.That’s why he was voted in.Wake up Pm .Work for your people

  14. Cerberus
    May 3, 2012

    Whilst lambasting Domlec we should also realise that our Govt. stands to benefit. The higher Domlec’s billings, the more VAT is generated. It may surprise many of us that this tax on electricity can easily exceed any profit made by Domlec. In 2009 for example Domlec had an operating revenue of $76.8 million, which subject to 15% VAT would have produce some $.11.5 million in tax for the Govt. Yet, that same year Domlec “only” made a net profit of just under $6.2 million. I have not seen the operating revenue for 2011 but again, it would not surprise me to find that VAT chargeable outstrips the profit declared by Domlec. Since the profit margin is part of any bills we receive we do, in fact, pay VAT on Domlec’s profits also.

    • anonymous2
      May 3, 2012

      People have been hood-winked into thinking that they should be paying taxes to governments. Not so. The psychology behind this is to make people feel obligated and dependent on government. That does not create a healthy economy. Only people producing products for export will generate more revenue. The role of govt. should be minimal and to the point with a beneficial result for the people, not adding to the coffers.

  15. Woy!
    May 3, 2012

    What McCaskey need to do is retire…Mr. “forever young!” lol

  16. May 3, 2012

    typical buisness 101 my friends(PASS THE COST ON TO THE CONSUMER)
    the question we have to ask ourselves is who is
    looking out for us malayway??are the people we elect into office looking out for us??

    • JP
      May 3, 2012

      Ediot what the hell you believe the DLP government created the IRC for??

      go on the website and try your best to understand thier mandate then tell us how foolish you feeling when you realize that they were created to protect us the poor malaway!!!

      you guys are so narrow-minded it not funny!!!

      • Malgraysa
        May 3, 2012

        For the same reason they created the IPO? Please educate this idiot.

  17. Realist
    May 3, 2012

    If IRC can’t do anything, then why in the hell do they exist? They make it appear like they may be in cahoots with Domlec.

    Imagine they claiming that a couple countries have fuel-surchage a couple cents more than D/ca but they cleverly left out a few key information.

    1. How many of these countries are heavily buffered by free water/hydro like Dominica?

    2. What about the many other countries that are much lower than D/ca?

    3. He is only talking about the fuel-surcharge, what about the regular rate of the other countries compared to D/ca?

    Mr. Macaskey and the IRC gang must know that empty words cannot full a wallet, the people want real reduction from Domlec’s oppression instead of spin by the so called regulators

  18. LR
    May 3, 2012

    Its the same thing i was speaking of the other day when they made their such and such profit..DOMLEC NEED BLODDY COMPETITION!!!….them a ovadweet now!! and IRC cant do nothing….what a shame…..for all i see boosei, flash lights, candles solar heated lights will be the way out for some persons in dominican….smfh…DOMLEC ka fan dominichen

  19. who cares?
    May 3, 2012

    Dominicans like it so. Who cares about high electricity rates and want to do something about that? Even though many complain, no headache.

    So many Dominicans will end up losing their money because of the corruption that took place in CLICO and the dealings of the CEO. Who expressing concerns? Didn’t Govt/the ruling party, as alledeged, receive funds from CLICO for election campaign? So who would make noise? It is just amazing how our people behave and react to such issues that affect their lives.

    Remember CAHUR (Consumers Against High Utility Rates?) Dominicans of all walks of life were complaining day and night about electricity bills too high, bla, bla, bla. The President and others of CAHUR sacrificed their time mobilising, advocating, organising protests. What happened? In the end, it seemed it was the President and other patriots who were at fault. Pressure. Pressure. Absolutely nothing changed amidst all the concerns and complains. Bills getting higher. People Moo-Moo. Fear? Wickedness?

    Dominicans are really funny. People just felt that the protests and talk against high electricity rates was indirectly against the ruling Govt. and directly against the foreign-owned Co. which Govt. sold DOMLEC to. Today the situation has not changed for the better. Electricity rates as well as fuel prices have risen beyond expectations.

    It was Govt. officials, who fooled the people in believing that Petro Caribe setting up in Dominica would make our bills cheaper. Nothing tal go so. It was pure manipulation and lies. A gallon of gasolene is now $15.65. And who are Directors of Petro Caribe? Dominicans are not all fools.

  20. Anonymous
    May 3, 2012

    i wonder if Mc Caskey as a personal consumer of
    domlec is feeling what the other consumers are going through…i telling u, its very hard to pay +15% of ones salary to a utility company..its real up!

  21. Anonymous
    May 3, 2012

    6 of one , half dozen of the other. no difference btween IRC and DOMLEC…they are all there for their pockets….atleast some of the cost needs to be absorbed. every cent is passed on to the consumer and at the end of the financial year they are still boasting of million $$$$$$ in profit…

    im no financial wizard, but it can clearly be seen that “THEY” are putting no effort in minimizing cost to consumers…Personally i can’t wait for Geothermal …I HATE MONOPOLIES

  22. Dreamer
    May 3, 2012

    “The IRC official said the commission was working with the electricity company to effect savings and improve its generating efficiency.”

    I love that ! Work, Work …. but talk less, less.

  23. May 3, 2012

    waste of time and money by taxpayers to set up a commission. What has the commission done to lower prices, nothing. instead it is more blows on the consumers. now you have to register generator. Come on Dominicans wake up. Both private and public sector put vat on the people. now they crying.

  24. Josh Shaw
    May 3, 2012

    So where is Petro Caribe in all of this? Reginald Austrie assured us that Alba and Petro Caribe would REDUCE the fuel cost and the surcharge. Was that another lie? Dominicans really turn coonoomoonou for true. What a shame!

    • Malatete
      May 3, 2012

      What the IRC really should look at is the profit margin made on the diesel fuel sold to Domlec. What is the difference between the landed cost per gallon and the price per gallon our electricity generator has to pay? Who benfits from this money at the expense of citizens, who are burdened with the highest electricity costs in the region, which the govt. then subjects to an additional VAT at the full 15% rate. Open the books mr. Austrie of the the company we own! The IRC, like the IPO, is only a smokescreen to make us believe our intersts are being taken care of. What is the annual cost to us of running that body?

  25. A Voice
    May 3, 2012

    Well you see if our electric company was owned by the government then the higher price for fuel could be absorbed by the company seeing that they made $7 million profit last year. This would have been a company of the people and for the people.

    But we in Dominica allow foreigners to own all our cash cows so all the profits going over seas while they pull the veil over our eyes.

    If you guys believe that the geothermal thing they have going there going to mean all you paying less for electricity then all you in denial.

    I mean the same way that these companies come in here and get guarantees to make certain profits why the populace don’t get guarantees to pay only a certain price for the utilities?

    For a country with so much natural resources our utility bills are just too damn high, period.

    We have 365 rivers, water in abundance. I lived in foreign countries already that don’t have a drop of drinkable water yet their water bill is so low that it is sent every 3 months. In Dominica you have a high water bill every month and just look at the number of neighbours that their water is being shut off on a regular basis because they can’t afford to pay the monthly water bill.

    Magway sah Dominicans, open all you eyes. Dominican resources are all you own…

    I watchin’ still!!!

    • Anonymous
      May 3, 2012

      perfect example is St Lucia… water is $14.00 per ‘000 gallons and Dominica is $21.62..we got many more rivers than LUCIA..and if the number of rivers is not the problem, then find out what the other countries are doing! Dominican salaries are the lowest amongst the islands in the region and yet still we pay the most expensive bills…..big chupse!
      when are things gonna work in our favor …magwayse

      • Malatete
        May 3, 2012

        Voice, here is your answer. Dowasco happens to 100% owned by the Govt.Enough said!

      • anonymous2
        May 3, 2012

        Rip off after rip off between Domlec and Dwasco. Especially the pay as you go.

      • Roz
        May 4, 2012

        We must consider the population of St Lucia of 174,000, which is more than twice that of Dominica. If you laying pipe to serve 15,000 in a village, it would be cheaper per person than the same laying of pipe to serve 5,000. We don’t have economies of sale. Price per capita will always be higher in Dominica.

    • Malgraysa
      May 3, 2012

      $ 7million profit. That is roughly £100 for every woman, man and child in Dominica. Compared to our electricity bills that sounds reasonable. Bet that Govt. make more than that electricity in VAT.
      on top of that.

  26. Anonymous
    May 3, 2012

    If DOMLEC is laready subsidizing the cost of fuel by 2.5 percent and still makes a profit of $7.75 million, this means that it can easily subsidize another 2.5 percent to ease up the pressure on its customers.

    • Malatete
      May 3, 2012

      Why did we make that deal with the Venezuelans through Petrocaribe if in reality we don’t see a difference in our electricity bills. The only difference I can think of that some people/institutions, along the line, now pocket the oil profit instead of our traditional suppliers. Imagine, with our hydropower being back in full swing, contributing 40% of our needs, Domlec’s bill for fuel last year was higher than the year before, despite consuming nearly 650,000 gallons less. Capitalism only got a fancier name: “Socialist Capitalism”.

  27. May 3, 2012

    Disappointing to read an Island that has enough Geothermal Energy to power the island 100 times over, would use any fossil fuel for electrical power. Not to mention the Hydro Power resources (ton of rivers) that can also be utilized. What a waste of fossil fuel.

    • May 4, 2012

      3 People have NO care about the Environment God gave us, or they like to pay a high electricity bills? GREEN ENERGY is key to a quality sustainable planet. What a selling point it would be to tourists,.. “Dominica’s electricity is created 100% by Mother Earth”. Geothermal is key to Dominica’s success, and also cheap hydro, I hope to read forward moving news on the Geothermal Project being conducted in Dominica.

  28. Rule
    May 3, 2012

    I’m sure something can be done to minimize cost. But the question remains will Domlec negotiate and come to some consensus to reduce cost? There’s always a solution to every problem.

  29. D
    May 3, 2012

    Aye Dominique well said thats so true

  30. Aye Dominique
    May 3, 2012

    Yeah what Mc Caskey needs to do is to compare Dominican salaries and unemployment level with the other islands he just mentioned.

    I hope people are reading this correctly…..”legislation will be required to get a greater subsidy from Domlec” ….who have eyes to read may do so….

    $7…….how much million in profits from poor Dominicans…ah magwaysah!!!!

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