By SANCHESKA BROWN
Tribune Staff Reporter
BAHAMAS Electrical Workers Union President Paul Maynard said yesterday the government will not get the union’s support in the reform of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation if it continues to be “secretive” about the bidding process.
Speaking with The Tribune, Mr Maynard said union executives met yesterday with KPMG, the government’s advisor for BEC’s restructuring process. However, they left with more questions than answers.
He said while no company has been officially selected to provide management and distribution services for the corporation, the field has been narrowed down to three bidders and a decision will be made before November 1.
“We met with them for two and a half hours and still left with little new information,” Mr Maynard said.
“The process is just way too slow and is not transparent. We know that whoever the company is, (it) will begin their management in November but we don’t know who the company is and what they are prepared to offer the Bahamian people. This is something that is most urgent to the people.
“We don’t want to criticise or put the deal down because we haven’t seen anything or know what the whole thing is. KPMG was not in a position to tell us who was chosen, but they did tell us it was narrowed down to three companies and everything should be completed by November.
“They wanted to make sure we were on board, that the unions were okay with everything,” Mr Maynard said. “At this point we cannot say we are because we still have no idea how the deal is structured. We do not know what people are getting out of it. We do not know if it is the best deal for the Bahamian people.”
“At this juncture the government needs to be transparent, if not this will become another Batelco situation and we will not be supporting that.
“This process is way too slow. BEC is burdening the Bahamian people, the price (of electricity), the blackouts, everything – something needs to be done now not later.”
Last August, Prime Minister Perry Christie announced the government’s plans to effectively split BEC in two, by allowing one company to run the transmission, distribution and customer billing, while another company would offer power generation.
The government was initially supposed to select BEC’s preferred bidders by November 1 last year.
Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis confirmed to The Tribune in July that a deadline had been set for August 30.
At that time, the remaining bidders included four focusing on the generation side and just one on transmission and distribution, Carolina-based Power Secure, according to Tribune Business. Generation bidders include the Caribbean Power Partners consortium, featuring Fluor Corporation and ProEnergy Services, and Cayman-based Inter-Energy. The remaining bidders are thought to include Genting and other Asian energy players.