(CMR) The Cayman Islands Government has announced a three-month extension of the Electricity Assistance Program (EAP) until December 2022. The EAP is designed to help residents manage unusually high fuel costs during this period.
In continuing the initial Electricity Assistance Relief Program, which ran for July, August, and September 2022, Government will contribute up to CI$0.05 per kWh for eligible residential customers.
Eligible residential customers are those with monthly energy consumption between 101 and 2000 kWh. For instance, for a household in Grand Cayman consuming 1,800 kWh per month, this will equate to CI$90 in savings off their electricity bill.
This initiative goes beyond the recently announced OfReg-approved CUC “Fuel Factor Relief Programme,” which is designed to cap fuel factor costs at CI$0.20 per kWh (as a deferral of the increase until 2023) and runs over the same period of October through December.
As had been projected, increased residential consumption over the summer months, combined with rising fuel costs, resulted in significantly increased electricity costs. The Government Electricity Assistance Program has helped thousands of residential customers reduce their electricity bills over that period.
Premier Wayne Panton JP, MP stated that Government is fully committed to working proactively to prepare for further price increases and to reduce what is known for most families as one of the biggest household expenses:
“Around the world, the soaring cost of living is being driven in part by the cost of fuel, and the resulting cost of energy. Here at home, our Government is committed to helping our people get through these challenging times by offering a direct subsidy to their electricity bills. This will help blunt the impact of the sharp increases in utility bills, providing much-needed relief for those who need it,” said Premier Panton.
“Although fuel costs are expected to plateau in the coming winter months, fuel costs remain relatively high when compared to a year ago. For example, at 24 cents per kWh, October’s fuel cost estimate is double what it was in January this year. This means that even though consumption should be going down because it is cooler, bills may remain relatively high for most households,” he added.
The Government said the three-month extension of the electricity assistance program is yet another of more than a dozen initiatives it has put in place to help lower and manage costs for residents In the face of increasing costs of living. Other initiatives include the free school breakfast, snack and lunch program; extensions of the displaced tourism worker stipend program through June 2022; assisting with health insurance payments; cost of living adjustments across the public sectors; and honorariums to public service pensioners.
The program initially announced in June 2022 gave households a Government subsidy applied directly to their electricity bills, effectively reducing what customers had to pay to their utility company. This program has helped more than 22,000 households across Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman.
Between July to September 2022, customers, on average saved a total of CI$66.20 on their monthly utility bills.
In announcing the program's extension, Premier Panton emphasized Government’s people-driven commitment and dedication to the initiative and hope to provide comfort to those currently enduring difficult times.
“As a Government, we understand how hard these times are for families, senior citizens, and young adults, and we will not make excuses or say that nothing can be done,” said Premier Panton.
“That is why we have been working diligently since May last year to put in place more than a dozen initiatives to lower direct costs and help people protect their income as we brace ourselves to get through the economic challenges that will continue to face us for the foreseeable future. We understand that things are tough and people are experiencing financial stress, but we are here to help and give our people hope. If we each do our part, and we work together, we can get through these tough times,” Premier Panton added.
The extended program will continue to provide assistance to over 80% of the residential customers of CUC and Cayman Brac Power and Light over the next three months. The program is effective for electricity consumption from October 1, 2022, to December 31, 2022.
To learn more about how Government is containing costs for individuals and families across the Cayman Islands, visit www.gov.ky/cost-of-living.