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News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Fri. June 17, 2011: The World Bank Board of Directors this week approved two zero-interest credits for a total of US$5.6 million to help Grenada and Saint Lucia establish the Eastern Caribbean Energy Regulatory Authority (ECERA).

As a regional entity, ECERA will improve electricity service delivery and diversify sources of energy generation, including renewables, benefiting electricity consumers across the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) countries.

Demand for electricity in the OECS countries has been growing at an annual rate of 3-4 percent, driven mostly by commercial and residential sectors in tourism-led economies, while electricity prices are among the highest in the world. The high tariffs are due, in part, to the countries’ insular and small electricity systems, an almost complete dependence on diesel, as well as insufficient regulatory enforcement.

In order to ensure a reliable energy supply in the OECS, regional electricity utilities need stronger and more efficient regulation to improve oversight, tame the growth of electricity costs, diversify energy supply away from fossil fuels, and attract cost-effective investments in electricity generation.

“This initiative will make it easier for OECS Members to provide incentives to save energy, reduce electricity costs to consumers, and, in the longer term, lower electricity price volatility by relying less on diesel,” said Françoise Clottes, World Bank Director for the Caribbean.

“ECERA will maximize economies of scale among OECS Participating States in establishing and operationalizing a regional policy approach for the development of the electricity sector, enable better use of scarce skilled human resources, and increase the capacity of OECS countries to implement regional arrangements for electricity supply,” said Len Ishmael, OECS Director General.

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