Delta Petroleum has notified the BVI Electricity Corporation that it cannot continue to source and supply the fuel required under the contract it signed with the utility in October, BVIEC General Manager Leroy Abraham announced Tuesday.
The BVIEC, however, is working quickly to remedy the situation, he added.
“BVIEC wishes to reassure the public that it takes its corporate responsibilities very seriously and that it has swiftly taken steps to procure the necessary No. 2 diesel fuel for the continued production of electricity in the intervening period while we recommence our tendering process for the purpose of securing a reliable and constant source of supply of fuel for the production of electricity,” stated a press release from the utility.
Attempts to reach Delta CEO Carlos Robles on Tuesday were not immediately successful.
Residents have recently complained about spiking fuel surcharges on their power bills, but the BVIEC said it is “committed to providing exceptional customer service” and promised to provide updates on the matter as it obtains them.
The utility also had harsh words for people it accused of circulating “misleading and disturbing” information and potentially causing “mass hysteria and unnecessary panic” regarding the territory’s fuel supply.
“The BVIEC believes it is important to set the record straight,” the statement noted. “The truth of the matter is that since early April 2022, BVIEC has been vigorously attempting to obtain information from Delta Petroleum concerning its ability to continue to fulfil its contractual obligations, under the existing fuel supply agreement, to supply the corporation with No. 2 diesel fuel required for its operations on an ongoing basis.”
In October, Delta Petroleum outbid SOL Petroleum to win a five-year contract to supply fuel to the utility.
BVIEC Chairwoman Rosemarie Flax said Delta was the lowest bidder between the two companies.
“This acceptance was based on the guarantees, condition, specifications and price stated in their tender documents,” she said.
The contract was set to run for an initial two years before being renegotiated for another three, Ms. Flax said at the time, attributing that arrangement to “uncertainty in the global marketplace” related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr. Robles said at the time that the company was “fully committed to supplying the VI with the most effective cost in terms of fuel that we can make available, … and I think that we have some good times ahead.”
Delta Regional Managing Director Bevis Sylvester, who is also chairman of the BVI Airports Authority, said in his Oct. 26 remarks that he thought Delta lost the previous 2019 contract because of pricing.
“This time, we sharpened our pencils pretty well and went back to a very low price that has not been offered to Electricity since 2007,” he said. “And that price is what I think gave us the advantage, along with our very good service and the fact that we have proper storage pipelines in place.”
According to the BVIEC, the bids for supplying No. 2 diesel for 2021-2024 were $58,422,000 for SOL versus $56,238,000 for Delta.