Negotiations for new DOMLEC licenses move to public consultative stage

The Independent Regulatory Commission (IRC) has ended its first phase of negotiations with the Dominica Electricity Company (DOMLEC) for two new licenses to operate in Dominica.

In October 2012 the IRC which is the body responsible for setting rules and regulations for the island’s electricity sector entered into discussion with DOMLEC to negotiate for two new licenses, one for the generation, and the other for the transmission, distribution and supply of electricity in Dominica.

DOMLEC’s current license expires on December 31st 2015 and based on the Electricity Supply Act and the Commissions licensing procedure, DOMLEC was required to make an application for a new license.

Executive Director of the Independent regulatory Commission Lance Mc Caskey in presenting an overview of the negotiation process with DOMLEC so far disclosed on Thursday December 06, 2012 that tentative terms and conditions have been agreed to with the staff of the Commission and that the Commission will now have the agreed documents sent to stakeholders in the electricity sector for their comments.

“We had our face first to face meeting with DOMLEC on the 02nd of October. At that meeting we dealt with some house clearing matters.  We had sent them two licensees in a letter dated January 2011. In response to us they decided that they wanted an integrated license because they are an integrated company and so instead of commenting on two licenses they merged the two licenses and commented on one and told us that they want an integrated license. That was contrary to the letter that was sent because the last paragraph of that letter sent to DOMLEC in January advised them that contrary to what happened previously the Commission is prepared to issue two licenses. The Commission said then that one would be for generation and one would be for transmission, distribution and supply”.

McCaskey said subsequent to the October 2nd meeting another one was called with DOMLEC at the end of November.

“The last meeting we had was on Wednesday November 28 and when we left that meeting the IRC’s team was of the opinion that the first phase of our face to face negotiation had concluded, In fact we informed DOMLEC of that and that we would now begin preparing the documents for consultation, have that documents put on our website and send them to all the interested stakeholders. As I speak to you the documents are being prepared and hopefully will be ready before the end of next week”.

Meanwhile the Independent regulatory commission (IRC) in January 2013 will begin a series of island wide public consultations on the draft licenses.

According to McCaskey these consultations will help determine what type of license should be granted to DOMLEC.

“What we’ve concluded is between the staff of DOMLEC and the staff of the IRC. The board of the IRC has not approved what we have concluded. That is because what we sat and discussed with DOMLEC must now go to consultation, the public must have a look at it, the public must have their say on what we’ve concluded and then we are going to have a second round of negotiations with DOMLEC after which the board of the IRC will come into play but the board is being kept advised as to what is happening.”

The consultative period will culminate at the end of March 2013 when a statement of results will be presented to DOMLEC and the Board of the IRC.

A final round of negotiations between the IRC and DOMLEC is expected to take place between April 1st and June 30th 2013, when issues which arose from the consultations will be discussed.

This will be followed by a complete legal review of the final document and if the terms and conditions are agreed to by both parties, the Commission will issue the new license to DOMLEC by October 1st, 2013.