ROSEAU, Dominica, July 30, CMC – The Independent Regulatory Commission (IRC) Monday accused the Dominica Electricity Company (DOMLEC) of engaging in activities to make it difficult to negotiate a new agreement.
“They are doing all sorts of dancing and trying to evade us,” said IRC executive director Lance McCaskey, adding “so we got to the point where we have to force them to come to the table.
“So the Commission made rules that DOMLEC could not ignore and those rules kicked in from the first of June this year (and) by the 26 of June, DOMLEC agreed they would begin to renegotiate their licence.
DOMLEC, the sole power utility, is involved in the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity here. Formed in 1949 and owned previously by the Colonial Development Corporation, which later became Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC), it sold 49 per cent of its shares to the government and in 1983, the government acquired the remaining shares.
But in 1987, the government reduced its ownership interest in the company by offering 60 per cent of the shares to the general public and DOMLEC’s employees.
In 1993 the company offered a ‘rights issue’ to shareholders of two shares for every one owned. Many shareholders did not take up the offer but government did and so their shareholdings increased to 72.9 per cent.
However, in 1997, CDC purchased 72.9 per cent of the shares from the government making it a majority shareholder, but in 2004 WRB Enterprises and Dominica Social Security in a collaborative effort purchased CDC’s shares.
“What will decide whether they get a new licence or not would be the conditions we are going to set with the licence. In fact we already have two draft licences, one for generation, one for transmission and supply,” said McCaskey.
He said the company, which serves approximately 32,000 customers, has already received copies of the draft contracts “very early in 2011.
“So they know what they have to abide by,” he told reporters, without indicating when he expects the new accord to be signed.
McCaskey said that electricians and electrical contractors would now have to abide by new rules governing their operations.
“We are at a point now where we are devising rules for the certification of electricians and electrical contractors. Very shortly we should have consultative documents put out on those rules because we think it is important that people that are involved in electrical installation in homes and other places should be properly certified and properly licensed.”
He said all the rules and regulations have been put out for public consultation and “we allowed the public to make comments on all of them”.