BEC Chairman Leslie Miller
By SANCHESKA BROWN
Tribune Staff Reporter
BAHAMAS Electricity Corporation Chairman Leslie Miller yesterday denied “assisting anyone in getting free electricity” and facilitating illegal hookups at his Summer Winds Plaza Complex.
Mr Miller claimed he is being attacked by disgruntled BEC employees and union leaders who have launched an “all out war against him” in an effort to have him fired.
His comments came after documents began circulating on the Internet, claiming that Mr Miller allowed the End Zone Sporting Lounge to “steal electricity” by having an illegal direct connection. The Sporting Lounge is located in the Summer Winds Plaza which is owned by Mr Miller.
The documents, that were sent to The Tribune, allege that on Tuesday April 15 2014, BEC inspectors discovered the End Zone Sporting Lounge had an illegal direct connection and as a result they disconnected the supply. They further claim that Mr Miller, after being shown the direct connection, ordered the supply be reconnected - even after the owner of the business failed to report to BEC the following day and have the electricity connected legally.
“I removed the direct connection and discovered that End Zone Sporting Lounge was affected, their supply went off. Mr Miller instructed us to reconnect that supply and he would have the owner come in to BEC to establish an account,” the document said.
“On Wednesday April 16, the owner did not regularise the account for End Zone Sporting Lounge, therefore, the supply was disconnected again. While on site at the Summer Winds Plaza, we were contacted and told that Executive Chairman, Leslie O Miller, wanted us to reconnect the supply for the End Zone Sporting Lounge.”
However, when contacted by the Tribune, Mr Miller said the moment he discovered the sporting lounge was hooked up illegally, he spoke with the owner and told him the problem needed to be fixed immediately.
Mr Miller admitted that he allowed the business to stay open that day, but told them they had to report to BEC the next day or face disconnection. “They paid what they had to pay the next day so I really don’t understand what the problem is,” he said.
“I went to him and said ‘Look here you have a problem’ and he went to BEC the next day and gave them a cheque. But in any case, why would the landlord be concerned about who would be getting electricity? They renting the place, they are responsible for their own power.
“See, you don’t understand the mentality around BEC, this is a strange place. This is an all out war against me. No one has ever challenged them before, they got away with foolishness for years and I took on the challenge and infringed on their monthly take home pay and now they resent me and will do anything to get rid of me. But I have nothing against the union, my concern is for the Bahamian people.
“They twisting this entire thing, this is nothing to do with me. My daughter rented the building. When I was told about what was going on, I said ‘I will let you keep your light on tonight because you have a function’ but they had until tomorrow and they fixed it. What is the big deal, It was sorted out? You don’t know how dangerous these people are to BEC. I don’t operate those places, How would that benefit me? These people are incredible.”
Mr Miller also sent the Tribune several documents that corroborate his statements, including a letter dated May 21, 2014 sent to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works, Phillip Brave Davis and emails from the Assistant General Manager of Customer Services, Peter Rutherford.
In the letters, dated May 15 and 16, Mr Rutherford acknowledged that he met with the owner of the business, who “assumed responsibility for the debt”, therefore “we accepted him at his word and saw no need to have the supply disconnected, as is the usual custom.
Mr Miller said the deposit was made a few days later and the account was then opened.