The Keith Mitchell-led government has apparently failed in its bid to take back majority control of the island’s lone electricity company that was sold under the 1990-95 National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration of Sir Nicholas Brathwaite.
Chairman of the Grenada Electricity Services Company (GRENLEC), Robert Blanchard informed the media last week Thursday that the ruling New National Party (NNP) government’s proposal to repurchase the company was not “particularly attractive”.
Blanchard said that his Florida-based company, WRB Enterprises had notified the Grenada Government about one month ago about its decision to maintain its majority shareholding interest in the company while at the same time accepting offers from new investors.
He told reporters that WRB is presently restructuring its investment in GRENLEC and that several approaches were made to it by investors within the region, as well as in the United States and that the proposals are being reviewed.
“After a lot of research and discussions with numerous parties, looking at all of the options, WRB has taken the decision to restructure its investment in GRENLEC to remain as the majority party in the operation in GRENLEC with a new investment group,” he said.
Blanchard noted that GRENLEC is on the verge of celebrating its 20th anniversary since the privatisation of the company under the former Congress regime and they feel good about the progress made over the past two decades.
The GRENLEC Chairman pointed out that he was excited about the prospects of going forward with the new shareholders/investors that want to come on board.
While not disclosing who are some of the interested investors, Blanchard told The New Today that the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) was one of the perspective buyers but its proposal was also not “attractive” to the company.
He said that WRB’s decision to remain as majority partner in GRENLEC is reflected in the company’s future interests in renewable/alternative energy, which can see additional opportunities and a possible reduction in costs to consumers.
Interim Chief Executive Officer of GRENLEC, Clive Hosten outlined several renewable energy projects initiatives through the use of natural power and outlined the company’s vision for Grenada in the coming years such as the harnessing of energy through the use of the sun, wind, geothermal and other avenues.
The Mitchell regime was given notice last year by GRENLEC’s majority shareholders, WRB through its locally registered company, Grenada Private Power Limited, confirming its intention to divest and an opportunity to take back control of the company within 30 days.
However the cash-strapped Government was not in a position to come up with the funds. Government currently owns 10% of GRENLEC shares while NIS is in possession of 11%.
At present, only 1% of electricity generated is from a renewable source, which is solar PV.
The price of electricity in Grenada is 40 US cents per kilowatt-hour, one of the highest rates in the world.