The government of Dominica could once again become the majority shareholder of Dominica Electricity Services (DOMLEC).
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit announced at a press conference at the Dominica State House on Thursday, that his government is not ruling out the possibility of acquiring the majority shares of Dominica’s sole electricity company.
“In respect to DOMLEC, the government is not ruling out the possibility of engaging the main shareholder of DOMELC with the view of the government acquiring the majority shares in DOMLEC,” he said. “I believe that by doing so we would address the historic round, because I believe fundamentally that the issue of water and electricity should remain in the hands of the state.”
The Prime Minister made it clear that his government has a great relationship with the majority shareholders and the management of DOMLEC.
“So it’s not like we have any issues with them, but we believe, especially with the advent of the geothermal and our thrust towards the use of renewable energy, I think this will place Dominica in a much better position,” Skerrit stated. “So I am throwing this out to the public, but as the days and weeks go by I will be in a better position to firm up the government’s position in respect to this matter.”
If the prime minister’s announcement materializes, it will not be the first time that the Dominica government holds controlling interest in DOMLEC.
In 1993, the company offered a ‘rights issue’ to shareholders of two shares for every one owned. Many shareholders did not take up the offer but the then Freedom Party government did, and so their shareholdings increased to 72.9%.
On 23 March 1997, the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) purchased 72.8% of the shares from the government thus making CDC the majority shareholder.
In May 2004 WRB Enterprises of Tampa, Florida and Dominica Social Security, in a collaborative effort, purchased CDC’s shares in DOMLEC. These companies bought 52.8% and 20% of the shares respectively.
In April 2013, Light & Power Holdings Ltd. (LPH) of Barbados, a majority-owned subsidiary of Emera Inc., an energy and services company based in Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada, acquired a 52 percent interest in DOMLEC from WRB for EC $20.6m.
Light & Power Holdings, an investment company with electricity being its core business, has a majority interest in The Barbados Light & Power Company Limited and holds a minority interest in St. Lucia Electricity Services.
The Dominica government has stated that it hopes to make Dominica the world’s first climate-resilient country with a cheaper, cleaner, more reliable source of energy.