Official Opposition Leader Philip 'Brave' Davis.
By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE government yesterday signed a transition services agreement with American company PowerSecure for management of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation.
Deputy Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis, with several PowerSecure officials, yesterday signed off on what the minister of works said was “another important step forward towards reducing the cost of electricity and increasing the reliability of power in the Bahamas.”
Mr Davis said he now expects that the cost of electricity for consumers will eventually drop from 40 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) to 30 cents per kWh. However, he said that depends on the results of the “due diligence” investigations being conducted by PowerSecure officials.
Nonetheless, Mr Davis said PowerSecure will now finalise its business plan over the next 60 days, which will “provide specific recommendations” on how PowerSecure “plans to manage the new BEC for the next five years.”
Mr Davis said a management contract would be signed with PowerSecure as soon as the business plan would have been “signed, accepted, and adopted by the Cabinet of the Bahamas.”
According to Mr Davis, the agreement is valued at about $900,000.
“The government has charged PowerSecure with developing a plan that will create efficiencies which will allow for significant reductions in the cost of energy, increased energy security and reliability, environmental responsibility and increased competitiveness as a country,” Mr Davis added. “Since the appointment of PowerSecure as the preferred bidder was announced in April, both PowerSecure and the government have made substantial progress in several key areas to lay the foundation for success. Specifically, the PowerSecure team has been on the ground in Nassau and across the Family Islands engaged with BEC management in extensive due diligence to gather key data that will inform their business plan.”
He added: “We believe that the new course on energy that has been charted by this government, and the new BEC, under management direction and supervision from PowerSecure, will significantly improve the residential and commercial customer service experience and set a new standard for excellence in the region.”
Ronnie Brannen, PowerSecure chief revenue officer, said while the company is unable to presently state what plans it has to provide a reliable service and subsequently reduce electricity costs, the company is actively engaged in “understanding the causes of (disruption in services) and how to prevent them.”
“We want to really make the right decision for the future of the Bahamas,” he said. “Not a short-term decision but the right decision. So the goal is to improve reliability as quickly as possible, and make short and long-term decisions based on the generation mix that will reduce your cost substantially.”
In May, the government announced it had selected PowerSecure International as the new management company for BEC, giving it a five-year contract to oversee generation and transmission/distribution.
The process is expected to lower electricity costs, increase energy security and reliability, and increase competitiveness as a country.
PowerSecure specialises in utility scale solar power through its subsidiary PowerSecure Solar and has provided both solar and storm hardening services to multiple utility customers.
Mr Davis has previously said that the company has the ability to manage the building of new, major generation in New Providence and can procure and/or manage the building of renewable energy projects in the country.