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Pm Defends Govt Deal With Foreign Firm To Manage B.P.L.

Prime Minister Perry Christie.

Prime Minister Perry Christie.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

AMID rolling blackouts that have frustrated Bahamians, Prime Minister Perry Christie yesterday defended his government’s decision to select PowerSecure to manage Bahamas Power & Light.

Tall Pines MP Leslie Miller, the former chairman of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC), told The Tribune Wednesday that the government should not have surrendered management of the corporation to the American company.

He said the utility provider had a plan to prevent summer blackouts under his watch.

Reacting yesterday, Mr Christie said he does not second guess his government’s decision to partner with PowerSecure.

“When the management agreement was signed, we understood that we had to go through a significant amount of challenges and we’re doing that now,” he said on the sidelines of an event honouring retiring Permanent Secretary Colleen Nottage.

“The government will not second guess itself on the management agreement. What we have done is we have brought in not just individuals to manage, but individuals backed up by a major corporate personality in the United States of America. I heard my colleague Leslie Miller speak and challenge the agreement and say he thought we were wrong to do so. I think he is wrong in his position for any number of reasons, one of which is if you look at where we are in the region with respect to alternative methodologies, we’re far behind many countries in the region. And they have been able to rely on integrating the private sector in helping them to provide electricity at a cheaper and affordable cost to their people.”

“So there is no doubt in our mind, just as we looked at the airport and we made a decision for Vantage to take over the airport and we looked at BEC and made the decision to bring about a new paradigm there with Bahamas Power & Light where we think in the medium and long-term it’s going to be the best decision for the Bahamas and you’re going to see it, and he’s going to see it, and he’s going to appreciate it because he is a businessman and whatever his reasoning is, I haven’t been able to share it with him at this state, but there’s no doubt in my mind we made the right decision and the Bahamian people will see it.”

On Wednesday, BPL conducted “outage rotations” to help address the corporation’s struggles to meet customer demands.

One resident, Daphne Miller, of Coral Heights, told The Tribune her electricity was off for six hours Wednesday and then went off again yesterday.

“I’m so upset with BEC as I’m drowning in my sweat,” she said.

Meanwhile, Mr Miller said under his leadership BEC planned to “have a fully operational 128 megawatt plant up and running by June of this year” thanks to financing and a guaranteed loan from the National Health Insurance Board.

After a lengthy process, the government signed a five-year agreement with PowerSecure in February to manage the struggling electricity corporation, which was later renamed Bahamas Power & Light (BPL).

It was recently revealed that the Christie administration nixed BPL’s plans to raise rates to finance needed reforms.

In addition, PowerSecure recently provided the government with its business plan, details of which have yet to be shared with the public.

Comments

John 5 years, 5 months ago

What they are not telling you is this is the same company that owns Freeport Power and Light. And while the blackouts may not be as frequent in Freeport as in New Providence, the costs, penalties for late payment are even higher than BEC.. Was Power Secure brought in as a smokescreen for the Bahamian consumer to continue to pay high light bills and now with no one to account? What exactly is Power Secure's plan to deal with the power shortfall immediately and what are the medium and long term goals for supplying electricity to the Bahamian people price and potential?

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croberts6969 5 years, 5 months ago

Bahamians deserve everything they get. Suckers.

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truetruebahamian 5 years, 5 months ago

At least they have done away with the list of those whose power is not cut off due to non payment and political preference, and they are collecting many outstanding unpaid bills. This is a hugely positive move. PLP friends family sycophants and lovers no longer have the free ride.

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sheeprunner12 5 years, 5 months ago

Don't worry ............. Brave and Perry will justify why they gave PowerSecure management of a public corporation that is $600 million in debt with an additional $500 million plant upgrade ............... "We do not run the corporation now, so any concerns you have with BPL, please contact the new management team. We will honour their recommendations to make BPL a viable public entity." ................ The PLP has slipped out of BEC looking far better than what Hubert Ingraham did with BTC .................... but Bahamians still carry BTC and BEC burdens

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