Electricity Department to be Corporatised by 1st August, 2011

The announcement of this deadline was made recently by Minister with responsibility for Public Works and Utilities, Dr. Asim Martin, while speaking at Prime Minister Dr. Denzil L. Douglas’s monthly press conference.

Dr. Martin gave a progress report of the Electricity Department’s path to to corporatisation, noting that an 18-month consultation process was undertaken, from which a report containing recommendations was drafted, presented to Cabinet and approved.

“The Cabinet then mandated the Ministry of Public Works Utilities…with the process of the implementation of the corporatised entity. Cabinet took a decision to put in place an implementation committee that started to look at the proposal from the consultants, analyse the – committee established in October 2010.

“…Put in place the necessary memorandum and articles of association for the company, so the St. Kitts Electricity Company was established almost one month ago and with the full capacity to move the whole process forward with the implementation of the project.”

He said that St. Kitts is probably the last country in the OECS to corporatise its electricity department and that there have been notable benefits to the switch. He also indicated that a more reliable electricity supply is expected following the change.

“We expect that the company as we move forward will be able to provide a more reliable and a more cost-effective supply of electricity to our customers…We are strongly of the view that we have the opportunity to learn from the various countries who have gone before us in the OECS. We are basically the last country in the OECS to move into a corporatised entity…That gives us the opportunity to look at what has been happening with these various companies and we have seen, from our discussion…that they have seen some vast improvements in their …reliability, cost effectiveness, in terms of being able to reward workers in a more effectiveness way…and also to discipline workers as we would want to move forward.”

The corporatised entity, according to Dr. Martin, will take possession of the Electricity Department’s assets, liabilities and the human resources. He however noted that the process of speaking with current employees has begun as it relates to employment at the new entity. He said, come the last day of July, “present positions will be abolished”. The workers would, Martin said, be given whatever money is due to them and they would be free to submit applications for employment at the new entity.

For the first three years of the existence of SKEC, its operation, according to Dr. Martin explained, will be performed by a company “to make sure that they are in apposition to manage and operate the electricity company for a period of 3 years.”

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