Profits Roll in for CUC as Sales and Customers Grow


(CNS): Grand Cayman’s monopoly power provider, Caribbean Utilities Company (CUC), enjoyed another profitable year in 2019, driven by a surge in the number of customers and rising temperatures causing increasing use of air-conditioning. CUC sales increased by 6% to over 30,500 customer, and it now supplies the largest number in its history. Shareholders enjoyed a significant dividend, as net earnings increased by $2.3 million over the net earnings of $26.8 million in 2018.


President and CEO of the firm Richard Hew was obviously pleased with the positive financial results, which he said were primarily driven by the increased electricity consumption in Grand Cayman’s growing economy.


“More importantly, during the year the Company engaged in activities that will ensure we successfully deliver safe, reliable, least-cost electricity in a sustainable manner to our customers well into the future. The Company made excellent progress on its Capital Investment Plan activities including building new substations, a control room and an upgrade of monitoring
and controls technology, all to increase service capacity and reliability to our customers,” he said.


Hew noted OfReg’s approval for CUC’s 20 megawatt Utility-scale Battery project, which is in the tendering stage. “Battery storage provides the grid stability necessary to integrate higher levels of intermittent renewables,” he stated.


However, Cayman is still very dependent on burning diesel. The growth in generation means that the solar farm, the Customer Owned Renewable Energy (CORE) programme, which is fully subscribed, and the Distributed Energy Resource (DER) programme that replaced it are doing little of substance to drive the country off fossil fuels and towards the government’s ambitious goal of having 70% of Cayman’s electricity powered by sustainable sources by 2037.


No additional residential or commercial customers will be added to the CUC’s CORE programme, where smaller customers making a switch towards renewables could integrate freely with the CUC grid. However, the company is hoping to expand the DER programme, which currently has only fourcustomers. This was designed for much larger independent power generators rather than a small house with solar panels and a wind-turbine.