Electricity

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Barbados Electricity

Nearly every home in Barbados has electricity.

Barbados Light and Power (BL&P) is the sole provider of domestic electricity.

Until recently, when some companies installed their own generating plant, it had also been the only provider of power to the commercial sector.

BL&P is the successor to the British-owned Barbados Electric Supply Corporation (BESC), which was formed in 1909.

By the end of the year 2006, BL&P reported having more than 114,000 customers – just over 96,000 being domestic and nearly 18,000 commercial. In addition, it was providing the electricity for over 27,000 street lights on this 166 square mile island.

As of 2006, peak generation hit 157 megawatts.

The standard domestic electricity voltage in Barbados is 115 volts 50 cycles. For commercial installations, the supply could be 230 volts 50 cycles.

For many years, by astute technology upgrades, the company has kept electricity rates relatively stable. But, recently, the cost of electricity in Barbados has closely followed the sharp increases in International oil prices.

In its long-term plan to deal with the situation, BL&P has been in discussions with the sugar industry about the possibility of a 50,000 – 60,000 kilowatt co-generation plant in conjunction with a new single sugar factory and with the Ministry of Health for a proposed plant of 1,000 – 2,000 kilowatt capacity at a central Barbados garbage dump, to convert the landfill gas into electricity.

In addition BL&P has begun a feasibility study on the construction of a 10,000-kilowatt wind farm at Lamberts, St. Lucy, in the north of Barbados.

If it materializes, BL&P says, the plant would have a generating capacity of about 32 million kWh per year, enough power to meet the average annual needs of some 10,600 homes.