Dominica Electricity Services Limited (DOMLEC) is presently the only electricity utility in the Commonwealth of Dominica which is the third largest English speaking island in the Caribbean (754 square kilometers) and has approximately 75,000 inhabitants.
The Independent Regulatory Commission (IRC) which regulates the electricity industry in the Commonwealth of Dominica recently granted two licences to the company. The first is a non-exclusive generation licence, and the second is an exclusive licence to transmit, distribute and supply electricity within Dominica. These licences come into effect on 1st January 2014, until then the company will continue to operate under the 2006 Electricity Supply Act.
DOMLEC is the first Caribbean utility to install and implement a full Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) which allows meters to be read from the company’s office. The AMI allows customers who register to be able to monitor their consumption by means of the internet. The company also offers pre-paid metering to its customers.
It is also one of the few utilities in the Caribbean which has in conjunction with the IRC published an interconnection policy which details the steps to be taken to interconnect renewable energy systems to the company’s grid.
The company operates three run-of-the-river hydro plants on the Roseau River in the Roseau Valley. These plants are the Laudat plant, the Trafalgar plant and the Padu plant with installed capacities of 1.24MW, 3.52MW and 1.8MW respectively. These three plants are automated and are unmanned by operators. The plants are controlled from the System Control Center located in Fond Cole.
The company also operates two diesel stations, one in Fond Cole and the other in Sugar Loaf, with installed capacities of 13.3MW and 6.8MW respectively.
TRANSMISSION AND DISTRIBUTION
The transmission and distribution (T&D) network comprises of 403 kilometers of 11kV and 922 kilometers of 230/400V overhead lines. This serves a customer base of more than 35,300 customers or about 98% of the island’s population. All generation sources are linked via 11kV inter-connectors and, in some instances, via 11Kv distribution feeders.
In 2012 the total energy production was 101.6 GWh of which 26.3% was generated by hydropower and the remainder by diesel generators. The system peak demand is 17.2 MW. In 2012 a total of 90.1GWh of energy was sold to the public.
COMPANY AT A GLANCE
The 208 employees of the company are spread over seven departments. These are the Generation Department, the Engineering, Transmission and Distribution Department, the Information Technology Department, the Accounts Department, the Human Resource and Administration Department, the Commercial Department and the Corporate Office.
The company was started in 1949 by the Colonial Development Corporation, which later became the Commonwealth Development Corporation. In 1976 the government of the island purchased 49% of the shares of the company and in 1983 acquired the remaining shares.In 1987, Government reduced its ownership interest in the Company by offering 60% 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%.
On 23 March 1997, the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) purchased 72.8% of the shares from the government thus making CDC the majority shareholder.
In May 2004 WRB Enterprises and Dominica Social Security in a collaborative effort purchased CDC’s shares in DOMLEC. These companies bought 52.8% and 20% of the shares respectively.
In April 2013 Light and Power Holdings (a subsidiary of Emera Corporation) bought WRB Enterprises’ shares and became the majority share holder of the company.