By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
THE Coalition for Concerned Citizens is calling on the Grand Bahama Port Authority not to make a decision on the rate plan proposal submitted by the Grand Bahama Power Company until there is proper public consultation concerning the proposed electricity base rate increase.
Pastor Eddie Victor, convener of CCC, said that businesses on Grand Bahama have been adversely affected by high electricity base rates of the GBPC.
“Throughout Grand Bahama our island is littered with closed businesses, hotels, golf courses, closed, shopping centres, apartment complexes and abandoned homes,” he said.
The CCC is strongly opposed to the proposed base rate increase.
Mr Victor said that any rise in the base rate would increase expenses to businesses, increase VAT payments and increase the cost of living for the citizens on Grand Bahama.
He said according to the regulatory framework and operation protocols document that governs the GBPC, there should be proper public consultation and information sharing of the rate plan proposal.
He noted that as regulator the GBPA must publish in the local press the summary of the rate plan proposal from GBPC, provide public access to the rate plan proposal on the GBPA’s website, and provide copies of the rate plan proposal available for public viewing at the GBPA office.
“Based on this information, we feel that the regulatory committee cannot make any decision on the rate plan proposal until there is complete and proper public consolidation and information sharing,” he said.
On November 25, the Grand Bahama Port Authority published the GBPC/Emera rate application proposing an increase in its base rate in the Freeport News.
The CCC is also moving forward with plans to form an association to help in its fight against the GBPC, and has retained Freeport attorney Osman Johnson to assist in the formation of an association.
“The CCC approached me for legal advice and guidance on how to challenge the Port Authority and Emera with regard to the recent discussions to increase power rates. We decided that an association (the Coalition of Concerned Citizens Association) will allow us to challenge the company and its policies in an official capacity through the court,” Mr Johnson said.
The Grand Bahama Power Company has indicated that the base rate increase would result in a decrease in power cost to many residential consumers over a period of time.