RA Accuses BELCO Of ‘Misleading The Public’

August 8, 2022

[Updated] The Regulatory Authority of Bermuda [RA] has issued a public statement to caution BELCO for what they said was “misleading the public”, with the RA alleging that BELCO has made “concerted” efforts to misinform.

A spokesperson said, “In response to public outcries regarding ongoing soot emissions in the local community, the Regulatory Authority of Bermuda [‘the RA’] cautions BELCO about purposely misleading the public.”

The RA’s statement alleged that “a senior BELCO representative has been selective with the information that was shared with the public.”

“The representative openly stated that their plant was supposed to burn natural gas, not what it is burning today. They further assert that this is the genesis of the problems they are facing with respect to the plant and soot emissions.

“As the RA is an independent body which regulates BELCO, we feel it is imperative to provide a summary of facts.

  • 1. In December 2017, BELCO made representations to the RA that they had a dire need to build the North Power Station. Their proposal included a design for a dual-fuel power plant, which can operate on either oil or liquified natural gas [LNG]. BELCO suggested that oil would be deployed in the first instance and IF at some point in the future the country decided to go toward liquified natural gas [LNG], the plant could then be readily updated to switch to the liquified natural gas.
  • 2. The RA requested further information from BELCO, and based on all the information received from BELCO, the RA approved BELCO’s proposal in its entirety for $118 million dollars to build the NPS and their battery system. No modifications were made to their proposal, and therefore, the RA expected that BELCO would deliver what it promised.
  • 3. Yet, after receiving permission from the RA, BELCO built the North Power Station to optimize Liquified Natural Gas first. It made the decision based on its assumption that the public and the RA would readily accept liquified natural gas for energy generation at that time.
  • 4. However, when the RA conducted several public consultations on the Integrated Resource Plan [IRP] Proposal, which BELCO created and several alternative generation proposals from the public, there was little support for liquified natural gas.
  • 5. The RA took no position regarding the safety aspects of natural gas in the local residential area. Any representations that the RA provided erroneous information to the public regarding the safety aspects of natural gas are incorrect.

“The RA advises that if the issue is that the BELCO plant was configured for natural gas and now has been retrofitted for liquid fuels, which is still problematic, BELCO should address technical issues and mechanical issues with the vendor and hold them accountable to make the necessary repairs as a matter of urgency.

The RA cautioned BELCO about making what they termed any “further misleading statements to the public regarding the North Power Station,” adding that “if it continues to do so, the RA will consider all options available to it.”

Bernews asked BELCO for comment and will update as able.

Update 6.19pm: A spokesperson said, “Bermuda Electric Light Company Limited [‘BELCO’ or the ‘Company’] today commented on statements made by the Bermuda Regulatory Authority [RA] concerning the fuel used at the North Power Station [NPS].”

BELCO President Wayne Caines said: “Last week I along with our Managing Director of Transmission, Distribution and Retail, Shelly Leman, and our Managing Director of Bulk Generation, Nadir Wade, went on various radio shows to explain to the public the reasons behind a recent emission fall out at the NPS and what we are doing to improve operations at the plant. During the show, we discussed how BELCO has been unable to burn natural gas in the new plant. The fact is that the Regulatory Authority’s [RA] 2019 Integrated Resource Plan [IRP] did not prefer natural gas as a fuel option. Contrary to the legislative process, the RA published its own version of an IRP that did not select a scenario that included natural gas.

“We never had any intention to mislead the public and do not believe we did.

“BELCO is committed to and working towards achieving Net Zero by 2050 and is exploring alternative and renewable energy generation through the use of wind, solar and the possible transition from Heavy Fuel Oil to natural gas. We are committed to transparency and continuing to engage in communication between the Company and all of our stakeholders. BELCO looks forward to continuing dialogue and engagement with the community as we continue to build a clean, safe and renewable energy future for Bermuda.”

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Comments (9)

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  1. BELCO take responsibility!! says:

    Wow! BELCO needs to address the issues. I do not live near the power plant, but even I can see there is a problem. BELCO are lucky to be operating in Bermuda and not the USA, because the lawyers would sue the pants off of them!!
    Rust spots on roofs in this day in age, from a new power plant!!!! Painting peoples roofs 4 times a year but refusing to install filtration systems in these very houses. Children live in these houses. I shutter to think about the long term health care issues that are being caused. Not from a power plant built in 1950 but a new one built in what 2020!!! BELCO stop spending money on spin and fix the problem!

  2. Unknown800k says:

    So belco deceiving people now too..

  3. puzzled says:

    You don’t even have to read the article to see it’s a famous piece of writing by friends and associates.

  4. smoke screen says:

    The RA’s statement alleged that “a senior BELCO representative has been selective with the information that was shared with the public.” … lol well a senior BELCO representative is also the former minister of national security or have they forgot those lies alos?

  5. Vote for Me says:

    This is quite alarming.

    Can anyone (or BerNews) shed light on which senior BELCo representative they are referring to? These are serious allegations which require follow up, especially given the role of BELCo as Bermuda’s sole energy provider (or substantially so).

  6. Ringmaster says:

    Belco’s response reads like a release from a Government MP. Full of fluff and nonsense. Oh wait, it is.

  7. comfortably numb says:

    Wayne ‘ Teflon’ Caines misleading the public? Surely not!

  8. Bright and Early says:

    Hello, BELCO has an ex government official working for them? Why did they not use the Natural Gas as planned and now using toxic oil. It is destroying the neighbourhood with emissions from the plant and still nothing is being done after WC’s explanation which seemed to be bogus. Now the RA should step in and insist that Natural Gas be used, at least give BELCO a deadline……

  9. Blowin smoke says:

    It’s all smoke and mirrors. I hope come election time the voters in mr premiers constituency tick a different box as he doesn’t reply to anything unless it’s cup match related but someone suffering from carbon monoxide doesn’t matter. My now deprecated property and potentially loosing tenants due to this. Doesn’t matter. Just pay you $40 for you TA forms and get on with things.