CUC’s CORE programme closed to new clients

| 20/01/2020 | 52 Comments
Cayman News Service
CUC generator

(CNS): CUC has revealed its Consumer Owned Renewable Energy (CORE) programme is now fully subscribed and closed to new private customers. The quota for the initiative, designed to encourage people to produce their own renewable energy while staying on the grid, is full except for one remaining megawatt allocated to the public sector. This means “there will be no additional residential or commercial customers added to the programme”, the firm stated, though it will be encouraging clients to use its Distributed Energy Resource (DER) programme instead.

In a press release Monday CUC said that CORE has been very popular and that it has 432 customers connected generating over 5,611 KW of renewable capacity. But the company is now hoping to transition renewable energy production to its second alternative power scheme, the distributed energy resource, as it works on the completion of the battery storage project.

The DER programme differs from CORE as it allows customers to consume electricity generated by their own renewable energy system without paying CUC for any type of susbsidised net-metering arrangement since the power that customers generate is stored.

The DER programme has been allocated 3MW of capacity for customer participation of which 2.5MW are available. An additional 12MW are expected to become available on completion of the battery storage project, CUC said. The power company is hoping this programme will fuel the growth and participation of customers in the renewable energy sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the Cayman Islands’ carbon footprint.

CUC explained that CORE allowed customers to connect small scale solar systems or wind turbines to its system and to reduce their bills by generating their own electricity while still on the grid. But the rates are subsidised by the non-CORE customers, as CUC paid more than would normally pay and charge customers for the same energy.

“This characteristic was aligned with the policy objective to promote and incentivize early development of the local distributed renewable generation sector. To avoid significantly increasing the average cost of electricity, the CORE capacity has historically been offered in limited tranches and at successively lower rates to match the declining cost of the technology,” officials said in the release.

“In alignment with the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) undertaken in 2017 and the National Energy Policy, the DER programme designed for the growth of customer-owned, distributed renewable generation, was introduced in January 2018 after review and approval by OfReg,” the power company said. “The DER programme allows for the continued growth and participation of customers in the renewable energy sector.”

CUC is now implementing its Integrated Resource Plan, which gives shape to Frand Cayman’s energy generation plans for the next 30 years. This phase of the plan is expected to see a rapid increase in renewables connected to the grid via DER, which will provide cleaner energy at competitive and more stable costs.

As CUC encourages its customers to generate their own alternative power, it is also slowly working on transitioning its own power generation to more renewable sources of energy. It currently takes energy from a 5 megawatt solar array in Bodden Town, which opened in the summer of 2017 and now powers around 800 homes. But only a small percentage of the local electricity is produced from green sources, with the bulk of electricity here still coming from burning enormous amounts of diesel, which is both costly and contributes to the climate crisis.

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Category: Business, utilities

Comments (52)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I am confused. I have been a CORE customer for over 4 years now and benefitted greatly. Recently though the credit that I had with CUC dwindled drastically and barely covers my monthly consumption. After I looked at my statements, my production is consistent, energy consumption has declined, but there is a “Alternative Energy Fee” which eats up all my credit which would otherwise have been close to $400 or more. Please explain how the “Non-CORE” customers are subsidising my solar production? Am I not paying twice or for the very least double charged?

    If anyone wants a great solar company with best products, reasonable and very practicable rates, and exceptional service, I highly recommend Green Tech Solar. There is no way that you will go wrong or make a bad investment. Every penny and your minimal time through the process is well worth it!!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      First CORE customers are STILL getting paid 38 cents per kWh they sell to CUC; they have 25 year contracts

  2. Anonymous says:

    The solar subsidy show up on everyone’s bills as energy factor..or something like that. So good news that this subsidy for the rich who can afford solar has stopped.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wrong! Bad news. They are willingly stopping alternative energy sources so their pockets can stay lined. Don’t be a fool.

  3. Anonymous says:

    When I checked my last CUC bill, adding up all the per kWh charges comes up to around 24-25 cents. I understand some of the core programme historically offered residents higher rates, but the last batch was 24 cents. How exactly are non-core customers then subsidizing core customers if the rate is the same? Can someone explain?

  4. Anonymous says:

    When I checked my last CUC bill, adding up all the per kWh charges comes up to around 24-25 cents. I understand some of the core programme offered residents higher rates, but the last batch was 24 cents. How exactly are non-core customers then subsidizing core customers if the rate is the same? Can someone explain?

  5. Anonymous says:

    All the ignorant talk about shareholders making a killing is a reflection of the poor financial literacy of some people on this forum. If you live here, work here and have a pension based here there is a good chance that you are a shareholder in CUC through your pension fund. CuC is a Utility, utilities all over the world provide a stable return and act as a stable investment in any portfolio. People have to have reliable power and water; they are core investments in any portfolio because they provide stable returns. Even the Credit Union invests in shares of CUC. So when you get your annual divi say thanks to CUC and stop bashing CUC they provide stable jobs and scholarships for Caymanians. DYOR Do your own research and invest in your local utility.

    • Anonymous says:

      My 10% annual CUC return is very nice.

    • Anonymous says:

      No other utility in the Caribbean ever provided such high payment rates. Your well being, in part, is dependent on CUC stability. CUC is heavily regulated and does not get to decide how much profit they can make.
      Agree with everything in the previous comment.

  6. Anonymous says:

    CNS, whatever happened to OTEC or did that proposal fall of OfReg’s desk into the trash bin?

    CNS: It’s on the ‘to do’ list but thanks for the reminder. It’s time to look into this again.

  7. Anonymous says:

    PV equipment for private use is duty free

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes but, depending on HM Customs arbitrariness you might be slapped with paying duties on your batteries. And that’s the big turn off. Good battery storage technology is expensive, so is a purpose built room for it so any potential duty pushes it out of financial range for most here.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Looks like most commenters on this have not read the entire article or are deliberately ignoring the reference to DER. Please read this qoute from the article “The DER programme differs from CORE as it allows customers to consume electricity generated by their own renewable energy system without paying CUC for any type of susbsidised net-metering arrangement since the power that customers generate is stored.”

    • Anonymous says:

      The DER program is only economically viable for large commercial clients, not private homeowners.

    • Anonymous says:

      How many can afford to drop $12K on a battery storage system with a potential life of not much over 5 years?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Was it ever really open? 432 customers is, at best, a token gesture. CUC has been fighting against alternative energy sources for well over a decade now – why should we think anything has changed?

    • Anonymous says:

      Fact of the matter is that solar power is gradually cutting into CUC profits. As over 75% of politicians in power in Cayman as well as many Caymanian established families hold major shares in CUC, solar will cut into their yearly stock returns.

      Therefore, there is no political will to support solar energy in other than a token way. Caymanians in power and with influence are not going to see their profitable returns cut.

      Time for a Green Party in the Cayman Islands.

      • Anonymous says:

        To 5.21 Wasn’t that the problem after the last election? Too many Green politicians.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’d be so down for a green party instead of all this alcohol. Bring the Rizzlas and a lighter.

      • Anonymous says:

        Politicians are shareholders in CUC so of course they will let CUC and OffReg do anything they want. Ask your politicians if they are shareholders, have relatives or get any freebies from CUC and you’ll see. This is outrageous! I thought people that made the effort and expense to go “Green” were to be commended, but instead, we are punished! To those people advocating for the environment and who have been against the Port Project, THIS IS YOUR NEW TARGET!

    • Anonymous says:

      Simply not true. IME becoming a core customer was easy. CUC were actually very helpful. The problem is the ridiculous price gouging by the solar installation companies which pushes the roi out beyond the life of the equipment!

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh yeah, blame it all on the solar installation companies not the big monopoly power company. The small solar installation companies cannot operate at a loss.

        • Anonymous says:

          The cost of installing solar has nothing at all to do with CUC. Nothing. Try engaging your brain.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Wow, so as other countries are pushing towards more solar and alternative energy, we are closing down the programs which make it worthwhile. For a country which will feel the impact of global warming more than most, I am shocked we are not being progressive with working towards getting rid of diesel generation in the next 20 years, truly shocking. It is no longer cost effective to even consider solar if this goes ahead. They can say what they want about their alternative, but the vast majority of energy comes from diesel and there is no real plan to get away from this.

    • Anonymous says:

      If it is no longer cost effective to get into solar at market rates, perhaps that’s a reflection on the cost of installing in the first place.

      • Anonymous says:

        That is simply not true. The cost of solar equipment has come down considerably over the past 10 years in America and Canada. If solar equipment was to come in duty free it would certainly be more cost effective. It would also mean that with the power generated CUC would have to import less fuel to run their generators.

        We allow all sorts of duty free exemptions for developers to bring in building materials but nothing for solar equipment. The answer is that the CIG is not seriously interested in renewable energy.

        In the big scheme of things installation costs are not that high compared to everything else in the Caymanian building industry.

    • Anonymous says:

      Did you even read the article? Cuc aren’t stopping anyone installing solar, they are no longer buying it off you at above market rates. Instead you simply use what you produce. It’s not difficult to understand.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think you need to understand how it works. you sell during the day when you are not using it and buy back at night when you need it. The only alternative to that is to store in batteries like Telsa Powerwall, however the cost of those in Cayman are double what they are in the USA and due to our AC requirements you need a few to run a Cayman house, so again, its not cost effective without selling back to the grid. No other country is taking this approach, so maybe you need to do a bit more research and understand how it works.

        • Anonymous says:

          It’s net-metering, which is very common in many other jurisdictions. It’s easier to check the source than the interpretation.

        • Anonymous says:

          You don’t need batteries. Just use what you produce during the day. Buy from CUC at night. It’s simple. Only need batteries if you want to go totally off grid which makes no sense here; contrary to popular opinion CUC rates are quite cheap so the breakeven for solar with storage is too far out.

        • Anonymous says:

          What are you talking about? You don’t have to have a battery.

          • Anonymous says:

            check out the rates, no way this is worthwhile for residential customers, CUC does not offer net metering, if they did no one would be complaining and everyone would be doing it. You need battery in residential as your consumption will be much higher in nighttime hours vs daytime like a business which is opposite.

    • Anonymous says:

      Try reading the article

      • Anonymous says:

        Feel free to go and get a quote and pay back period calculation based on the rates they are paying for that program. The Sq ft residential installation will not make any sense and not taking a press release from CUC as the guidance.

  11. Anti CUC/OfReg Mafia says:

    Still need CIG to make battery storage import duty free, as I’m sure CUC are getting a break on importing there’s. With recent instabilities in CUC grid we people need more incentives to go partially or fully off-grid.

  12. Anonymous says:

    For an island so blessed with light, the leaders live in darkness.
    It is by choice.

  13. Anonymous says:

    The ACC should really take a closer look at this one.

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