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3,000 users may have electric debt written off

Official Opposition Leader Philip 'Brave' Davis.

Official Opposition Leader Philip 'Brave' Davis.

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

DEPUTY Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis revealed yesterday that the government is working on a series of operational agreements with Bahamas Power and Light to write off many of the corporation’s delinquent accounts, potentially returning some 3,000 users back to the grid.

Mr Davis told reporters outside of the House of Assembly that he has already approached officials at Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) with hopes of getting them to forgive the debts of consumers who have been unable to settle balances for prolonged periods of time.

He said he has been informed that some 3,000 persons have fallen into this classification, insisting officials now have to look at these clients on a case-by-case basis to determine how best to resolve each matter.

“I have asked the board to consider a programme where persons who have had their lights off for long years, persons indigent, pensioners, (persons) who would have these huge bills because of the cost of electricity at the time,” the Minister of Works said.

Mr Davis said he personally knows consumers who have outstanding balances well beyond $5,000.

“They just can’t pay it now because of their income,” he added. “They barely make sufficient to take care of their everyday needs, much less to take care of electricity. So we have to find an answer for that. I am advised that there are over 3,000 persons who had electricity who are no longer on the grid and have been so for quite a long time.”

According to Mr Davis, the potential to forgive these outstanding balances remains just one aspect of ongoing discussions between the Christie administration and PowerSecure – BPL’s management company.

Mr Davis, who has responsibility for BPL, indicated that officials are working to secure additional generators to help offset the energy demand seen in the summer months.

Over the last two weeks consumers have been plagued by almost daily power outages as the corporation works to meet demand.

On Monday, Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader Branville McCartney slammed PowerSecure as he stressed that the new deal for the utility provider has resulted in no improvement in electrical services despite assurances by the government.

In addition to Mr McCartney, former State Environment Minister Phenton Neymour and former BEC Chairman Leslie Miller have also voiced their dismay with how the management company is running BPL, formerly the Bahamas Electricity Corporation.

However, despite the criticism, Mr Davis throughout his budget presentation and subsequent interviews with reporters praised the move, calling it a major step towards a modern Bahamas.

Mr Davis maintained that the government has received a plan of action from PowerSecure.

When asked if the plan would be released, Mr Davis said he was unprepared to present the plan publicly as there were still a lot of “sensitive issues” that had to be addressed and resolved.

During his presentation in the House of Assembly, Mr Davis said: “By the time we came to office in 2012, the FNM had placed our Bahamas in such a difficult state, a reduced standard of living had become the ‘new normal’. More and more Bahamians suffered from a level of unprecedented economic hardship.

“By our charter, we committed to initiate a plan to lower the cost of electricity in the Bahamas. Not only did we initiate that plan, we delivered,” he added.

Comments

B_I_D___ 6 years, 7 months ago

Oh there is one big scam brewing right there!! Place your bets all the big PLP names that are in arrears...heck even the potcake may get their 'rewards' as part of this process...

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DillyTree 6 years, 7 months ago

Why should these deadbeats be given a free ride?

What about the rest of us who pay our bills? Will we get a discount too?

And I say that if these people get their accounts written off for free, and if they accept those terms, their names will be printed in the paper. If they choose not to have their names in the papers, then they must make arrangements to pay their balance off within 90 days. Accounts not paid off in 90 days will be printed in the paper.

I wonder how many of these accounts will not be people on hard times, but in fact, people like Dame Marguerite who just don't like paying their bills until their brazenness is made public for all to see. Remember how quickly her taxes were paid once the story hit the papers!

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B_I_D___ 6 years, 7 months ago

I ain't paid my property tax yet...think I'll just let it slide and maybe they will 'forgive' me in 10 years and write it off for me.

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sheeprunner12 6 years, 7 months ago

Election gimmickry in full view ................. then the PLP gets mad when it is pointed out that the 2016-17 Budget has a built-in $200 million slush fund ........ this is a good example of the slush fund in action

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Economist 6 years, 7 months ago

"Man that VAT has sure come in handy. Especially since those spineless business persons did not have the 'balls' to make us pass a Fiscal Responsibilities Act with the VAT Act.

Man you got to love the "wimp" Bahamian population. They never stand up for anything."

We really got them all so scared that we can do anything to them

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The_Oracle 6 years, 7 months ago

Miller will be at the top of the list!

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Hogfish 6 years, 7 months ago

no you mean Dame SLOP going to be top of that list. good riddance $250K !

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themessenger 6 years, 7 months ago

I wonder why they didn't come up with this idea when Miller and Brave was running things? But then its always easier to give away other peoples money..........

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Well_mudda_take_sic 6 years, 7 months ago

Anyone who pays taxes to the corrupt Christie-led PLP government needs to have their head examined. All Bahamians should declare a unified moratorium on the payment of taxes and fees of any kind for the next three months.....this could be considered tantamount to a no confidence vote rightfully aimed at toppling corrupt Christie and his merry band of bandits!

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killemwitdakno 6 years, 7 months ago

Pensioners.

The rest better not be voter buying, let's get a follow up of the constituencies.

I wonder if sponsoring for them to have solar wouldn't be more economical, then they just have to pay to own. A month of free current is just a gift , not a lift.

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ThisIsOurs 6 years, 7 months ago

They need to make the criteria clear. The following persons should not be eligible, this would include government ministers, senior government officials, companies, expats, anyone living in a home worth more than 150,000, a household with a combined income of more than 2000 per month should not be eligible.

They should put in place a plan to reduce the amount owed, forgiving the entire debt should only be an option in the most extreme cases, for example where a family has "legitimately" fallen onto hard times, maybe a family member contributing to the household died or something of that nature,

This should not turn into a scheme to buy votes or pay back PLP supporters.

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Required 6 years, 7 months ago

So, who are the 3,000 lucky ones who don't have to pay their light bill?

Sorry. Who are the other 2,998, apart from Wendell Jones and Leslie Miller.

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sheeprunner12 6 years, 7 months ago

BOL ............. count all of the "politically exposed" PLP cronies that get the public works contracts, senior civil servants, board members, ambassadorships, public service franchises etc ....... and maybe a few hundred inner-city PR cases

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