BCAC On Pollution, Higher Costs & More

October 17, 2023 | 0 Comments

Members of the Bermuda Clean Air Coalition [BCAC] expressed concerns about pollution, the increased costs of electricity and more.

A spokesperson said, “The announcement of increased costs for electricity has sparked outrage in the community, but for members of the Bermuda Clean Air Coalition [BCAC] and residents of the area, there is concern that exactly what the group feared would happen, has happened, as BELCO works to relieve the air and water pollution issues in the area.

“After reading through Fuel Adjustment Rate [FAR] Reports found on the Regulatory Authority [RA] website, after talking to current and former BELCO staff members and after reflecting on Minister Roban’s July announcement that BELCO had breached the Clean Air Act, BCAC has more questions than answers. BCAC worries that Government, the RA and BELCO have all failed the island in their goal to help residents. Instead their lack of true action has helped BELCO avoid fines of up to $50,000 per day for breaking the law.

“We recognize that reasons for the FAR increase are complicated. Fuel pricing, international wars, recoverable funds… we get it, but we have questions.

“In reviewing BELCO’s Q4 2023 report to the RA, it was noticed that the N3 alternator had been shut down for the months of June, July and August, 2023. The report states that BELCO “continues to inspect the cause of the previously reported damage that the N3 alternator suffered.

“Unfortunately, the Q3 report opening letter is heavily redacted, but in what can be seen, there is no mention of the N3 alternator. However, the report shows that the alternator was available up until May, but strangely in May, there was no fuel consumed. Question from BCAC – Why was the N3 alternator shut down for the months of June, July and August 2023?

“We made inquiries and were advised that the shut down of the N3 alternator could reduce soot pollution and bring BELCO closer to what is required in the Clean Air Act. Questions from BCAC – Would shutting down the N3 alternator result in less soot output? Is BELCO now within the parameters required under the Clean Air Act? Is that why the N3 alternator was shut down?

“We then inquired of people familiar with the BELCO plant. We asked them if the N3 alternator had ever been down for this long a period. No one could remember a time when it was and each one said that the engine being down in the peak season of summer was definitely a huge concern. We looked at reports going back 3 years and could not find evidence of the N3 or any other alternator being off for this long a period, especially during peak season. We asked, if shut off, how the plant would compensate for the N3 alternator being off and were advised that all the diesel engines would need to be running. Questions from BCAC – Does the N3 alternator being off for 3 months during the peak season raise grave concern for anyone? Were the diesel engines used more than normal because the N3 alternator was down during peak months?

“The discussion about the diesel engines led us to look more closely at the plant’s consumption of diesel since July. We know that diesel runs cleaner, but it’s also more expensive. According to BELCO’s Q4 report, diesel cost $153.62 per barrel in May 2023, while the heavy fuel cost $130.22 per barrel. Part of BCAC’s complaint to BELCO and Government years ago was that BELCO needed to convert to a cleaner fuel, but that the associated expense should not be passed on to the people of Bermuda since it was BELCO’s decision to build the ill-fated North Tower, which is causing most of the nuisances and issues. We looked at the numbers and what we found when comparing June, July and August 2023 to the same months in 2022, was that BELCO used 10,852.97 barrels more this year than last year.

“That’s an 82% increase. And when we compared 2023 to 2021, we found a 918% increase in consumption of diesel. When we took the cost of that increase and divided it by 27,418 households, which is stated in the 2018 Census, we got $60.56 per household. Very close to Mr. Caines $52 per household. What we have to keep in mind is that the increase we are all upset about is recovery money for BELCO. They are making back the money that they spent in the last quarter. We still have 3 months to go in this year, so they have to also make sure that they end the year whole as possible. So, after they make their money from Q3 they have to try not to lose money in Q4. Questions from BCAC – Why did BELCO use so much more diesel between June – August 2023 than in the past 2 years? Is it related to BELCO trying to reduce their air and water pollution?

7102023 12654 pm

“Our final questions are for Minister Roban and the Regulatory Authority. The Ministry of Home Affairs repeatedly promised to upgrade the Clean Air Legislation and bring it up to first world standards. That was supposed to have been completed last year.

“In April 2022, the Acting Director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resource, wrote to BCAC explaining that the legislation was being worked on. Minister Roban himself even promised to consult BCAC on the new legislation before sending it to Parliament, but nothing has happened and nothing has been upgraded in Parliament.

“Meanwhile BELCO continues to pollute the country and the RA and the Government are allowing it to happen. Avoidance of this modernization allows BELCO to avoid acting responsibly and the people impacted by BELCO’s pollution can’t do this for another 30 years.

“Questions from BCAC – Why is there still no modernised Clean Air legislation in Bermuda? When will the Legislation be available for consultation and when will it go before Parliament? Whatever happened with BELCO breaching the Clean Air Act? How did you hold them accountable? What changes did you demand they make? To the RA – When does morality and ethics outweigh legislation? Why are you justifying that BELCO can pass the expense of their problems, inefficiencies and errors on to the people of Bermuda?

“We want to make something very clear. This is not just a BELCO problem. This is a Regulatory Authority problem and this is a Government problem!

“Bermuda is not a third world country. We want to be able to breathe clean air and drink clean water in all communities. We don’t want our roof tops covered in soot and our property damaged. We want the nuisances that are devaluing our homes, the nuisances that are causing illness and death to Bermudians, the nuisances that are unconstitutional according to the Clean Air Act to be fixed and we wanted BELCO, Government and any other involved party to be responsible for the associated expenses, not the people of Bermuda.

“We will not be ‘patiently waiting’ for your response, we are demanding it.

“Please send responses from BELCO, Government and the RA to bdacleanaircoalition@gmail.com and we formally invite each of you to join us at the BCAC Community Meeting on Thursday, October 26, 2023 from 6:00pm – 8:00pm at the Berkeley Institute Cafetorium to be transparent about the issues answer questions. We invite the community to join us to discuss next steps.”

click here banner environment 2

Read More About

Category: All, Business, Environment, News

Leave a Reply