By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE government is now in the process of finalising the management contract with American company PowerSecure for full managerial control of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation, Deputy Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis confirmed yesterday.
However, Mr Davis, also the minister of works, did not provide a timeline for when the North Carolina-based company would assume managerial control of the corporation. He would not elaborate on the matter when questioned by The Tribune outside the House of Assembly yesterday.
However, while speaking inside the House of Assembly, he said that the “major terms” of the government’s contract with PowerSecure have been agreed to.
“The selection of the new manager (for BEC) is the primary step in the overall restructuring of BEC and the reform of the sector,” Mr Davis said yesterday. “We have now turned our attention to the next steps, which include the finalisation of the management contract with PowerSecure.”
Mr Davis also said that the government was in the process of establishing a Transition Committee under the agreement with PowerSecure. That committee, he said, will consist of “well-versed business and technical persons.”
He also said the Financial Action Task Force is in the process of considering and recommending on “several robust proposals” submitted by “world class banks” to raise money by way of Rate Reduction Bonds (RRB). He said the government hopes to enter into a RRB mandate with a preferred bank(s) for the “refinancing of the legacy liabilities, without a government guarantee as well as providing monies for the working capital and other needs of the new BEC.”
“At the satisfaction of these requirements, government will table legislation to establish the new BEC, transferring the operating assets and certain liabilities from the existing BEC to this new company,” Mr Davis said. “That legislation will establish a completely new and non-partisan board to oversee the management contract and operation of new BEC.”
This week, BEC Executive Chairman Leslie Miller said he expects to soon be out of a job once that new board is in place.
Last week, Mr Davis confirmed through a press statement that the government had selected PowerSecure as the new management company, 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.
According to the statement, 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.
He also said 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.
“In sum, and more importantly, we are satisfied that residents and commercial clients of the new BEC will have the customer experience that we all deserve,” Mr Davis added.
Last week, Tribune Business reported that PowerSecure believes it “matches up very well” with the corporation’s needs, reportedly telling the government: “You’ve picked a great team.”
Sidney Hinton, PowerSecure’s president and chief executive, touted the company’s “significant capabilities” to first stabilise, then improve, what he described as BEC’s “rather unique situation.”
He added that the Bahamas was “struggling with high power costs and low grid reliability”, but warned that PowerSecure and the government were “at the beginning stage” of determining their relationship and the BEC contracts terms.