Profits roll in for CUC as sales and customers grow

| 17/02/2020 | 50 Comments

(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 four customers. This was designed for much larger independent power generators rather than a small house with solar panels and a wind-turbine.

Press release: CUC 2019 results, 17 Feb 2020


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Category: Business, utilities

Comments (50)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Good job CUC. I love you. I will keep buying shares through the customer purchase plan. Ignore the howling of those people who refuse to invest in the Caribbean’s best utility and reap the benefits. Keep on adding new battery capacity. Brilliant!

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Why do we still need to guarantee them a profit? Every morning, I get up, pull up my pants to get to work and no one guarantees me anything unless I work for it. Cayman does not need to beg CUC anymore, they have been sucking the CIG teet for so long that it has become sore..Cut them loose and let them fend for themselves. As soon as you allow competition to come in, CUC will learn how to make a profit on their own without Government allowing them to top up their coffers..

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    • HDB3 says:

      We were fed that story about competition in the early 2000’s when the telecoms monopoly was broken. Are we better off?

      1. No more training of 2 to 3 engineers a year
      2. Local staff down from 300+
      3. Is service quality the same as it was?
      4. Do we have local control to ensure we get the fast restoration after natural disasters, like we had post Ivan?

      Say what you want about CUC, but think about this first – how many Caymanians are working there, have made a career out of it, continue to grow and achieve.

      Yeah I too feel when I look at my CUC bills that they are raping us blind, but so are all the others in telecom who have competition, and the only thing the competition did for telecoms was make it so you cannot get someone who speaks English as their first language to answer your service calls, if you get an answer at all.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I can do without a cell phone but I can’t do without electricity…There is a big difference…with one I have choice, with the other I am raped blind as you put it..

        At some point this has to stop..I agree with you they are good at everything they do but you have to admit there is a limit. CUC bills are like another mortgage payment..

        Come on CUC, you have raped us for years, give us even one year of reprieve..

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        • Anonymous says:

          ……and adding insult to injury, “we” the public paid to rebuild CUCs distribution network after Ivan – with the monthly surcharge on our electricity bills (that went on and on and on….). What a complete monopolistic nightmare/con job.

          There is “Gold Plated” and there is CUCs “Gold Plated and Diamond Encrusted………”

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      • Anonymous says:

        ….I remember paying CI$500+ in monthly landline phone bills in 1997/1998 etc…and that was real money back then. C&W had a bloated workforce and an antiquated system and product back then. Remember them blocking the use of Skype when it first came in? Not any more (on any of those counts laid to above).

        So yes, I do not need to subsidise a bloated work force – let the CUC monopoly be broken and save me cash, in my pocket, now.

  3. ThIs WrItInG Is VeRy IrRiTaTiNg says:

    The next time CUC asks for a rate increase the answer should be no. The rates (including all fuel charges and everything else they add to the bills) need to be capped at say 1.5 times the electricity rates in Florida. That would force CUC to be efficient and work for their profit.

  4. Anonymous says:

    And the service and reliability? Third-world!

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  5. Anon says:

    Yet Ofreg approves their rate increases despite these obscene profits, it makes one wonder how many Ofreg directors hold shares in CUC, if any of them do, they have a conflict of interest.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Anyone who has a pension in the Cayman Islands indirectly own CUC through the pension fund. It’s a no-brainer as an investment. Guaranteed by CIG to make profits every year.

      • Anonymous says:

        You mean guaranteed by “joe-public’s broken back” aka the Cayman tax payer, to make profits every year.

  6. Anonymous says:

    There is going to be a serious revolution here come May 2021 if not before. This Government is way out of control and things have got to change. With headlines like these and people get their electricity turned off because they can’t rub two pennies together is highly insulting in a land where our government claims it is flushed with cash and every other entity is celebrating the millions they are making..

    Where are our Government Ministers? How much are they being paid to keep quiet?

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    • Anonymous says:

      A revolution 6:09. Who the hell you going to vote for? The alternatives are just as bad.

      Time for a Green Party.

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    • HDB3 says:

      ZZZZZZZZZZZZ

      Every 3.5 years the same old sad story comes up.

      Result 9 months later?

      The revolutionaries show their true colours!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      The single seat, hermetically sealed, first past the post constituencies/electoral system that is now now in situ in the Cayman Islands means that we will have more “Arden”s and “Barbara”s and few, if any, “Wayne”s, going forward.

      There is no hope with this broken, “race to the base”, electoral system, I’m afraid. Multi-seat, proportional representation with all Caymanians – those “by pain” and those “by plane”, being able to stand in the election, is the only hope of “controlling” inept governments.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Probably the only place in the world that a Government guarantees profits to a Monopolistic Entity….You seriously can’t make this sh@#t up!

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    • William Forsythe says:

      What’s worse is that we only have one government. No real choices despite elections every 4 years and they squander our money with a $1.3m boardwalk, do nothing with gas prices, high insurance costs, proposed cruise port, failing school system, mismagaged dump, useless public transport system resulting in traffic gridlock etc etc.
      At least CUC does what they are supposed to do… and you can buy shares in CUC.

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    • HDB3 says:

      Uhhhhmmmmm No.

      Check this link, only implemented in UK last year

      https://www.bbc.com/news/business-46720908

  8. Andrew says:

    Alternate title; “Monopoly Does What Monopolies Do”.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    This is a disgrace and I can’t understand why nothing is being done to address these monopoly practices XXXX.

    Why is no one looking out for the best interests of the population of these beautiful islands and it’s climate and sustainability. Yet again the greed of our politicians and a small number of wealthy families wins over the majority who are just trying to get by paycheck to paycheck.

    Cayman needs a change in government if we are to have any hope and it’s time for people to make a stand and make the change before it’s too late.

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  10. SSM345 says:

    And the rapage continues.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    And you wonder why people rob. I do not condone crime but to be honest I sometimes wonder how some people can even afford food in this place. I don’t care about foreigners because they can go home I care about Caymanians who have been left behind by the greedy corrupt powers.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Carbon tax.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Well..lucky us that we had the “Leader of the Loosers” negotiate that new contract.

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  14. This is how the Lodge rolls says:

    Anyone hear the push internally to change engines over to LNG? Hint, it involves a high ranking CUC employee’s family member.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    I am looking forward to the announcement of a rate increase as we get closer to summer. It will be approved without question or concern by the regulator.

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  16. Yeah Right says:

    So with all the racketeering and extortion money they are making can’t they, CUC, give residential (NOT apartments, churches, condos, hotels, b&b’s or bussinesses) a discounted rate on the electricity?

    Or are they so crooked, mean and corrupted that they can’t and won’t?

    I am willing to bet the later. Just based off of previous dealings. Like the bogus insurance charge after IVAN. Or the thousands of power outages and surges, that they frequently have.

    OFREG is useless, just like the management. Too busy driving around the company gas gussler (Tahoe) while talking on the phone, running people off the road, speeding and Drinking alcohol. Look BEHIND any bar and you will see the vehicle hiding.

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    • Anonymous says:

      How are apartments not residential? Are you suggesting homeowners should receive discounted electricity while renters pay full price on top of paying the homeowners’ mortgages with rent payments?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Gov’t Fuel Duty. It’s on every CUC bill, but duty was waived years ago. Where does this collection go? AG asked in their Report last year and was told it was routed to NRA Fund…where is the accounting for this? Why is a private-sector company collecting a public tax under a false label? What ultimately happens to that money, that even CUC doesn’t account for in their public TSX SEDAR filings?

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    • Anonymous says:

      CUC pays duty on diesel imported for its generators – it was NOT “waived years ago” – and passes this directly to the consumers with no uplift.

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      • Anonymous says:

        The Cabinet have the power to apply Customs duty waivers at any time for anything and have been criticized for not keeping track. Even if they are still being paid, 100% of all fuel duties (car, diesel, whatever) are supposed to flow through to the NRA Fund. CUC would have to account for that flow-through event in its financials on SEDAR. Each public entity, like Customs, and NRA, also have a legal duties to produce publications and accounting of these collections. Where are the reports? Do we need to mention that Richard (CUC) and Joey Hew (Minister of Transport) are brothers? I’ll wait.

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        • Stay flexible says:

          You are wrong on so many levels, I don’t know where to start, A) you are wrong B) you are clearly a disgruntled Canadian C) Go back to your high tax, low temperature climate that you came her to escape D) are you complaining that Richard Hew has been successful in private sector and Joey Hew has been successful in the public sector? E) isn’t it you Canadians that are usually complaining that Caymanians are lazy and don’t want to work, it seems like in this scenario that being successful is wrong too.

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          • Anonymous says:

            Joey successful in the public sector? Fake news! Tell it to the traffic jams, to the dump, to the illegal vendors, to the failed public transport system, etc…..

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            • The General says:

              AHHH, so you are Canadian, no denial there. Just go home if it is so terrible down here, what with the traffic, the dump etc etc, that apparently Joey caused in the last few years. I will never understand why you people feel so entitled to be in Cayman, just take your CI$ and go back and buy some of your devalued currency and look out your window at snow.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    They have cut CORE and making these kind of profits, crazy.

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    • Anonymous says:

      CORE is actually a part of why your bills are so high. Where do you think the money comes from to write those CORE cheques?

  19. Anonymous says:

    Far too much profit for a monopoly…what is Ofreg doing? Not a lot it would seem.

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    • ThIs WrItInG Is VeRy IrRiTaTiNg says:

      My understanding is that Ofreg is responsible for the CORE program being cancelled because of the renewable charge added to everyone’s bill each month.

      So on one hand government says it wants to generate 70% of electricity from sustainable resources (ie solar, wind and waves) but on the other hand the regulator cancels the CORE program. All new buildings should be mandated to cover their roofs with solar panels from today forward. We’re never going to get away from the diesel generators if this is not mandated for all new buildings. With a 4 to 6 year payback for solar I don’t understand why this isn’t mandatory. It wouldn’t add much to the overall cost of the new building or house and after a few years the investment is completely recovered.

      If Ofreg wants to do something productive they can force CUC to build natural gas or propane powered generators going forward. They burn much cleaner than diesel generators.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Hiring more consultants to look into it…

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    • Anonymous says:

      11 :46 am and . Dob’t tell me u are not that smart11:58 am , why don’t you 2 buy shares an reap some of the propits

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      • Anonymous says:

        They cannot fathom the concept. For every share bought currently, you get back 4.1% in dividends and then some on capital gains. Can’t see the forest for the trees!

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      • Anonymous says:

        There are people who hate to see you make a profit. Even when you show them how to profit they never follow through and buy shares. It’s symptomatic of a culture of poverty some people can’t delay gratification. Now please go and buy 10 shares and put a standing order to do that each month then tell me what you notice about the growth.. Alternatively you could invest in your local bar and use the advise there to return to this forum to howl and scream about CUC.

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