By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
PowerSecure’s management agreement to take over operations at the ‘new BEC’ could be signed before year’s end, the Deputy Prime Minister said yesterday, adding that a “correction” to the renewable energy self-generation programme suspension was imminent.
Philip Davis, addressing the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation’s (BCCEC) second annual energy security forum, acknowledged concerns over the Bahamas Electricity Corporation’s (BEC) decision last month to instruct businesses and homeowners with ‘grid-tied’ systems to now disconnect these from its network.
“The idea is to encourage as many of the solar providers to get into the business. The idea is not to remain on fossil fuels,” Mr Davis said.
“The construction of the new plants will have the capacity to convert to natural gas once they become available, and it can be sourced at a low cost. From the business plan it appears that the conversion will likely be done in two or three years.”
He added: “With respect to the issue of turning off renewables, I am meeting with them [BEC] this week to correct that because what has happened is a number of persons have connected to the grid without permission. Power Secure are big providers of solar as well, but the Bahamian private sector will not be disadvantaged just because they have a managerial role there. That is an issue we are working on as we speak.”
PowerSecure was selected as the management partner for BEC in May. It signed a $900,000 transition services agreement with the Government on July 22 to take over the management and operations of BEC’s new operating subsidiary, Bahamas Power & Light (BPL).
PowerSecure’s five-year business plan is now close to completion, and Mr Davis said: “I think there are only about two or three items that remain outstanding, which will be bumped up to me for my review and consideration.
“I hope to have that before me before this week is out. I suspect that before the end of this month, the management agreement will be signed and the Act put into force.”
Last month, Mr Davis tabled three bills in the House of Assembly to pave the way for the Christie administration’s plan to reform the electricity sector, ultimately reducing the cost of energy to consumers.
The passage of these Bills also facilitates further restructuring of BEC, which will be managed by PowerSecure.
Mr Davis said the Electricity Bill, in part, facilitates reform of the electricity sector. It also provides for the separation of regulatory and operations functions by the restructuring of BEC.