OfReg poses increase to domestic solar generation

| 11/06/2021 | 66 Comments
Cayman News Service

(CNS): The utilities regulator, OfReg, has said that an additional capacity of 3MW of Distributed Generation Resources (DGR) could be added to Grand Cayman’s transmission and distribution system to allow more domestic generation of renewable energy, given the level of demand, until CUC is able to complete its battery energy storage system (BESS) for its own renewables.

In a press release about the proposal, the regulator said it had begun a month-long public consultation period and that increasing the capacity would allow the existing Customer-Owned Renewable Energy (CORE) and Distributed Energy Resources (DER) to continue and provide for more rooftop solar to be fitted.

OfReg said renewable energy systems providers will be able to expand their solar business and allow their customers to generate greener energy beyond the current 17MW limit, which was agreed between the former Electricity Regulatory Authority and CUC. OfReg said that the proposal was of public significance and required an open consultation in light of the regulator’s “primary statutory function to protect the short and long-term interests of consumers as well as promoting fair competition”.

The capacity increase will only relate to the DGR programmes that are approved by OfReg. As with previous DER programme allocations, individual system size would be limited to 250kW AC output rating to improve locational diversity and avoid needing a System Impact Study. The previously established system sizes for the CORE systems will remain.

Gregg Anderson, Executive Director of Energy and Utilities at OfReg, said the proposed capacity increase would act as an incentive “to continue the growth and use of renewable and alternative energy, and assist in reducing the Cayman Islands’ dependence on fossil fuels used for the generation of electricity and, more importantly, reducing the nation’s carbon footprint”.

Given that energy security and sustainability are essential, OfReg CEO Malike Cummings said it was important to ensure the development of the solar industry is consistent with the need to provide reliable, clean,and affordable electricity.

“OfReg remains committed to promoting the goals of the National Energy Policy, and recognises the important role rooftop solar plays,and will continue to play in Cayman’s energy future,” he said. “Cognisant of our obligation to protect the short- and long-term interests of consumers, the release will allow consumers choice to interconnect their systems to the grid, while ensuring rates are reasonable. Increasing the installed renewable energy capacity contribute towards achieving the NEP target, and towards socio-economic and environmentally sustainable growth, and also aims to stimulate the renewable industry in the Cayman Islands,” Cummings added.

OfReg said it expects to issue a Final Determination regarding the Proposed Distributed Energy Resources 3MW Capacity Increase before the end of the third quarter of this year.

This public consultation will be conducted over a period of 30 days.

All submissions should be made in writing and must be received by 5pm on 8 July 2021 at the latest.

To access the consultation document and for more information, visit the OfReg website.

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Category: Business, Energy, Politics, Private Sector Oversight, Science & Nature, utilities

Comments (66)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Ofreg take the brakes off. All positives for renewable energy and we are not even close to meeting the targets of the national plan.

    Get ‘er done.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Solar is the only power source that originates from outside of this planet.
    A panel in darkness produces no power. True science that.
    Bring that same panel out of darkness and into light and something incredible happens.
    It is all down to electron doping that causes a depletion layer.
    When light hits the depletion layer, the electrons get excited by receiving quanta of energy from the light and they transition or burrow through the depletion layer, hence electric current.
    I have solar on my property. I am not connected in any way to any provider. My batteries are also recyclable. We respect our energy and we don’t use more than we need because we respect creation.
    I love science and I love God.

    Have you ever been excited by receiving energy from the Light?

    Once you have tasted this goodness and love, you can never go back.

    Thanks for your ear. Be blessed.

  3. Anonymous says:

    CUC charges their customers for renewable energy, but my bill keep going up every month – even though I use the same amount of electricity each month.

    Pact government need to do something about this CUC monopoly.

    They charge for energy cost, fuel cost, fuel duty and renewable energy cost. Why do they have to charge their customers all of these charges?

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t work for CUC, but here’s your answer. The same way you like to know your $100 grocery bill consists of so much for eggs, beef, milk, etc. just about everyone else likes to see the components of their CUC bill.

      If government raises or lowers the duty on fuel then you can see how that affects your bill, and it is not directly related to any action by CUC.

      Before addressing the renewable energy costs, I am a strong proponent of renewable energy and I have solar panels. On my most recent bill, CUC charges about 22 cents per kilowatt hour. If anyone is part of the CORE program and is being paid more than 22 cents per kilowatt hour then the difference between what CUC pays to them and what they sell it to us for is charged to ALL of their customers.

      As I said, I am a strong proponent of renewable energy and I am willing for a modest charge to be added to my bill knowing that I am helping in some small measure to reduce pollution. However, those who think that they should be allowed to install massive amounts of solar on their roof, and receive monthly payments from CUC which is then passed on to us, so much so that their solar panels are paid for in seven years need to get a grip.

      In summary, renewable YES!, but don’t ask the poor to subsidize the rich, and that’s what most of the big solar complainers are asking for, despite what rhetoric they may use to couch their true aim.

      • Anonymous says:

        To 10:15 AM – I am not speaking about showing the components on my bill – I am speaking as to why the consumer has to be charged for energy (how does CUC work that out), then they charge for gas and also a gas duty. I have to pay a renewable energy cost – but my bill goes up every month and I don’t have solar panels.

        • Anonymous says:

          Maybe CUC explains all of this somewhere on their website, but this is my understanding:

          The “energy charge” is the charge for delivering the energy or electricity to you. This would be based on the cost of their poles, wires, etc., otherwise called the “transmission and distribution (T&D) system “. On my latest bill that is 12 cents per kWh.

          Government, and hence the need to create OfReg, made CUC break out their costs structure to show the cost of T&D separate from power production, and deregulated the power production. Now when there is a need for more power any company can bid to produce that power, and this is where OfReg is supposed to do their job. Currently CUC uses diesel generators to produce electricity so the major portion of the “production cost” is the “fuel cost” that you see on your bill, which is 9 cents per kWh this month.

          Let’s say for example that a very rich benevolent person decided to make Cayman their home and produce and sell all of the electricity that this island needs for 2 cents per kWh. OfReg would award them the contract to supply electricity at 2 cents, CUC would distribute it for 12 cents, and we would probably pay OfReg 1 cent for whatever it is they do, and our electricity bill would be 15 cents per kWh instead of the 22 cents per kWh we paid this month.

          For all of their faults, no other company has come close to matching CUC whenever OfReg puts out a bid for new power production. So the only real monopoly that CUC has is their transmission lines and poles, and nobody seems interested in fighting to get that from them.

          • Anonymous says:

            I admire your attempt to help but really think the best advice in this case is just to not lick the sockets.

    • Anonymous says:

      Because they are as greedy as they come! As long as they have the power to gouge you, they will!

      • Anonymous says:

        OfReg should be dismantled, no use to consumers, no value for money. Listen to the people! we pay the bills. Get rid of them PACT.

        • Anonymous says:

          You are right they have done dip crap for consumers and allowed Utilities and Telecom companies to give us substandard service without and reprisal. Let them live off of fines and they would dismantle themselves.

        • Anonymous says:

          Ofreg are a bunch of smart people collecting big wages, free vehicles, free gas etc. All because we stupid tax payers people let them.

    • Anonymous says:

      PACT=Politicians Against Caymanian Tradition.

  4. Fred says:

    Best way forward is to let people install and self consum, let them have smaller system, but your save at the same rate cuc is billing match better. You may only save 40% of your bill but that’s better than spending 20,000 plus and looking to zero out your bill much more affordable

  5. Anonymous says:

    Dammed if they do and dammed if they don’t. What a bunch of moaners!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Is this the same Greg Anderson that was with Cable & Wireless?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Too little too slow OffReg.

  8. Anonymous says:

    CUC is not trying to cancel existing CORE contracts, CUC has asked CORE customers to verify the stability specifications and settings on their inverters meet the requirements that were detailed in their CORE agreement. Also, if the inverter features stability settings that exceed the specifications, CUC requests that those settings are selected. This is to help maintain the stability of the grid. With the large number of CORE customers now connected if a significant portion of their generation systems suddenly drop off the grid it will cause instability and potentially widespread power outages.

    • Anonymous says:

      Like alll Tesla battery systems, they can’t cope with the specs in the core agreement, good luck to all that spent tens of thousands on them.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yep, if CUC have a failure or high demand they adjust the frequency to +_ 10% most solar systems from 1 of the largest solar companies that has Tesla’s batteries in there line have to shut off the panels at 63Hz not the 66Hz required. The outcome is les power causing CUC needing more power as more and more cut out the whole grid goes down…..

      • Guido Marsupio says:

        Adjusting the voltage and frequency from what it should be is why our refrigerators and A/C systems have such a short lifetime, and our plug-in clocks don’t keep time. In the US, the frequency is 60.0000000 Hz exactly, and 120 Volts is 120 volts, not 100. Lowering the voltage causes motor windings to pull more current and therefore to overheat and bearings to burn out. This should be part of the regulations.

    • Anonymous says:

      These would be the same systems CUC inspected and passed previously?

      • Anonymous says:

        cuc don’t inspect them planning do, there is no frequency testing done

        • Anonymous says:

          They both inspected mine. I was there when they did it. I don’t have an issue with it, CUC have to protect the stability of the grid. It’s fairly simple to flick your inverter to hawaii grid protection values.

    • Anonymous says:

      The specs CUC are asking for now are not the same as those in my CORE contract. That said I support what they are trying to do, it makes engineering sense. My assumption is that there are people on older systems that have both the least resistant (flakiest) inverters and the best tariffs… wouldn’t be surprising if CUC want to kick them off the grid and stop paying them double/treble what they can sell it for!

  9. Anonymous says:

    One of the major constraints is the affordability of solar panels for the consumer. The panels are duty free but these savings aren’t passed on to the consumer. There are no incentives for Caymanians to bear the up front cost as they will have to finance them to afford them so the loan payment will be the same as your light bill without them. Government needs to regulate what these retailers are charging so that more can benefit.

  10. Rodney Barnett IV says:

    This article would be totally unbelievable IF I did not think that OfReg was in bed with CUC. However, since I personally believe OfReg is in bed with CUC, I am not surprised to read the contents of the press release contained herein.

    In their own words, “in light of the regulator’s “primary statutory function to protect the short and long-term interests of consumers as well as promoting fair competition.” However, given their previous actions and the proposed actions outlined in this article, clearly, OfReg’s primary goal is to protect the interests of CUC.

    Consumers should not be forced to pay for the mistakes in judgment by CUC staff and board. In this case, the company did not address the needs of these islands to advance toward a reasonable mix of fossil fuel and renewable energy resources.

    The company operates as though its primary purpose is to make money for the owners and not to provide a public service to the residents and businesses of the Cayman Islands. However, the truth is in a capitalist economy where government-sanctioned monopolies are allowed, the monopoly MUST demonstrate that its priority is to serve its customers.

    Clearly, OfReg is not doing its job to protect residents and businesses. I would like to see one example where OffReg has clearly and actively moved to protect consumers without strong public pressure. I know of none.

    In line with worldwide movement away from fossil fuels, the Cayman Government should strictly enforce its so-called National Energy Policy and allow all those who can do so to move quickly towards renewable technology, and encourage new public utilities to be established to harvest and distribute renewable, clean fuels to be harvested and distributed for domestic and business use.

    If the Cayman Islands Government had enforced its current policies, we all would be using landline telephones to protect the hard-wired telephone company. But, just like the adoption of cellular telephones, renewable energy is here to stay. The sooner our government understands and supports this, the better off we all will be.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hi Rodney,

      I take it you haven’t read the Integrated Resources Plan (https://www.cuc-cayman.com/renewable-energy/integrated-resource-plan-irp/)? It’s a fairly helpful roadmap that provides a suggested mix of energy sources transitioning over time to meet (and exceed) the NEP targets while also providing lowest cost outcomes for consumers.

    • fed-up with OfReg says:

      Rodney says it like it is, BRAVO to him. To OfReg, I say: Stop sucking up to CUC, and start putting Caymanians first for a change. After all, it’s the job you’re being paid to do. If you put Caymanians first, it necessarily means doing all that you can to advance green energy, rather than throwing roadblocks into the path of consumers in order to force them to keep paying fees to CUC.

  11. Anonymous says:

    NO ONE that has money wants to see CUC go away. Because every year they buy 14K in stock. And once you have about 70K in stocks of CUC. your electricity is free.

    The only people who want competition and cheaper electricity are the ones that can’t afford to put money into CUC stocks

    • Anonymous says:

      Where did you come up with that 70k stocks and electricity free bullshit? Mine isn’t and I own a ton. Unless you mean the dividends pay for it – but that could be any stock, not just CUC…

      • Anonymous says:

        well if CUC dividends pay enough to pay your electricity. Isn’t that EXACTLY what I said?

        now your arguing Symantecs.

  12. che says:

    The fact that the government are not actively assisting people with affordable solar installs says it all really. I honestly don’t know all the ins and outs but anything solar should be duty free, and people who have it should get equal / better rates that those using fossil fuels.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Stop CUC’s stranglehold on solar in Cayman! Let people power their own homes and then buy from the grid when they need it. You will quadruple the solar customers in Cayman which is great for the environment but not so good for all the Gov’t ministers holding CUC shares.

    • Anonymous says:

      You can do that now if you wish but it is a lot more expensive.

      • Anonymous says:

        You can’t do that on the Brac. It’s not permitted to connect solar to the grid with CBP&L, also a government sanctioned monopoly. You’re either on or off.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Shut this farce down!

  15. Anonymous says:

    So….OfReg personnel (Board and management) are very much on-edge wondering if they will survive the public expectations of PACT, in respect to their agency. They realized they better do SOMETHING!

    So….their highly-paid “experts” found a generic study, cut-and-pasted it, filled-in the blanks and changed the specifics to apply to Cayman!

    So…we’re supposed to be impressed that they actually did something for all those big bucks??!!

    Clear them ALL out PACT!!

    • Anonymous says:

      OfReg is finished! The people are aware that they are useless! THEIR ONLY INTEREST IS IN ENRICHING THEMSELVES!

  16. Anonymous says:

    And in the meantime CUC is busy changing the technical specs to try and cancel existing CORE contracts.

    • Anonymous says:

      The specs have not changed. The companies installing them just ignored the specs.

      • Fred says:


      • Anonymous says:

        But cuc inspected and approved them, so…

        • Anonymous says:

          Solar installer who got my settings wrong and now have to fix it, dat you?

        • Anonymous says:

          But in Cayman any inspection is a big of a joke, how many properties change things after inspection. Add lights change wiring. And the solar companies just change the system specs so they can make it work. Cuc don’t test frequency settings. If the specs are there the systems should comply.

      • Anonymous says:

        The specs have changed; my CORE contract is different to the specs they’re now asking for. That said I don’t think it is a material difference. My guess is there are lots of installed systems simply left on their default USA setting for years, that are easily switched to small island settings. Hopefully if enough people switch then CUC can cut some slack to the older systems that are perhaps not so easily changed. If we all play nice the grid will be even more reliable. Credit to CUC the number of outages we get here is really good compared to similar islands.

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