(CNS) UPDATED: A 4% increase in sales along with lower costs and finance charges resulted in a boost in earnings for Grand Cayman’s monopoly power provider during the first quarter of this year. In the first report of 2019 CUC recorded net earnings of $4.5 million, an increase of $1.8 million on the same period last year. Domestic economic growth led to a 2% increase in the number of CUC customers, which now stands at 29,945, who also increased their power consumption over the first three months of the year.
“The Company is off to a good start in 2019 with earnings growth, improvement in reliability of service to customers, progress on significant capital projects and an increase in the amount of renewable energy on the grid when compared to the same period last year,” said CUC President and CEO Richard Hew in a release with the quarterly report.
“The acceptance of CUC’s Integrated Resource Plan by the Cayman Islands Utility Regulation and Competition Office (OfReg) during the period also bodes well for further integration of renewable energy.
“I am also very pleased that during First Quarter 2019 there were no lost-time injuries recorded. The safety of our employees, and that of the public, remains top priority and the Company continues to improve its work processes and increase employee training, safety management and leadership, to drive lost-time incidents to zero,” he added.
CUC said that a major focus for the company during Q1 2019 has been on reliability of service to customers. According to the release, customers had an uninterrupted power supply for 99.98% of the time during the first quarter, which CUC said was an improvement in average customer reliability of 33% when compared to 2018.
However, on Thursday officials confirmed that almost half of CUC’s customers lost power late on Wednesday night. Apologising for the outage which affected people in West Bay, George Town, Prospect and Savannah they confirmed that the outage lasted for just under an hour with power going out at around 11:35 pm but was restored by 12:30 am. “Initial investigations point to mechanical equipment failure of the generating facilities. Crews responded immediately and started restoration in a safe and efficient manner,” the company stated in a short release.
Meanwhile, CUC was also promoting in its latest financial report that renewable energy on its grid grew during the first quarter of 2019 as a result of solar panel installation by more CORE customers and the solar farm in Bodden Town. The kWh from renewables grew to 4.3 million compared to 3.5 million in the first few months last year.
But this still only represents 2.8% of the total energy on CUC’s grid and the company has a target of generating 25% of the power from renewables within the next six years.
CUC also secured bragging rights as a boss after it was recognised last month as a Top Employer in the Cayman Islands by the CI Society of Human Resources Professionals.