Linesman of DOMLEC keep power going in Goodwill
Linesman of DOMLEC keep power going in Goodwill

Put your hands together for DOMLEC.

After taking a battering more than two years ago from category 5 Hurricane Maria, DOMLEC, Dominica's only power generation, transmission and distribution company, has reported its first post-storm profit.

"It is heartening to report that profit after tax was EC$1.66 million in 2019 compared to a net loss after tax of EC$2.5 million in 2018," wrote Chairman David McGregor in the company's just-released 2019 annual report.

McGregor said DOMLEC's total revenue of EC$85.33 million in 2019 was 50.4% higher than that of 2018 and total operating expenses amounted to EC $79.98 million, 29.3% higher than the 2018 figure.

Other aspects of DOMLEC's business is recovering from almost total damage that Maria inflicted on the company's poles , wires and generation equipment when the 160 mph winds knocked-down Dominica on 18 September 2017.

"At the end of 2019, our customer count was 89.6% of the company's pre-Maria figure of 36,499 as compared to 78.1 % at the end of 2018," McGregor said. "Sales increased significantly in all sectors with the exception of the industrial sector where a decline occurred. The two largest sectors, namely domestic and commercial, recorded growth of 62.1% and 32.5% respectively".

He added: "Performance in the hotel sector tripled that of 2018. This may be attributed to the opening of two major resorts namely Jungle Bay Hotel at Soufriere and Cabrits Resorts and Spa Kempinski at Portsmouth".

But the company's available generating capacity remained below pre-Maria levels as the PADU power plant has not been restored, McGregor said. PADU is scheduled to come back online in 2020.

DOMLEC is owned by Dominica Power Holding Limited, a subsidiary of Emera (Caribbean) Incorporated; it owns 52% of the ordinary share capital of DOMLEC, 21% is held by Dominica Social Security while 27% is held by the general public. DOMLEC's parent company is Emera Inc., an energy and services company registered in Canada.

According to Chairman McGregor, DOMLEC was planning to reach pre-Maria levels in 2020.

"2020 is expected to be a year where the company will seek to consolidate the gains made in 2019 using the balanced scorecard approach through increased customer and stakeholder satisfaction, enhanced financial performance, sustainable asset management, human resource development and the achievement of world class safety, " he said. " The company intends to continue to deliver value to its stakeholders in 2020 and beyond".

But then that was before the COVID-19 pandemic. All companies, including DOMLEC, were COVID-19 victims.