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Roberts Defends Party’S Plan For Free Electricity

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PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts.

PROGRESSIVE Liberal Party Chairman Bradley Roberts has defended his party’s controversial plan to provide “free” electricity to customers who keep their residential use below certain limits, saying it coincides with the party’s core principle of helping those who need it most.

However, it appears that the specifics of the plan are still being worked out as Mr Roberts said the specific limits will be determined closer to the introduction of the policy.

As reported by The Tribune previously, in the PLP’s Action Plan for Moving Forward Together, which was published on its relaunched website www.myplp.org on Thursday, the party said if elected to office for another term it plans to “make the cost of electricity free to residential customers who limit their monthly use to below specified limits.”

On its website, the governing party says it plans to “cover the cost” of electricity for persons who fall into this category, which will affect “15 per cent to 20 per cent” of lower income households.

However on Thursday, Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) released a statement in reaction to the revelation, saying the information about the PLP’s promise “is unknown to BPL, nor was it provided by the company.”

BPL added: “Our goal at BPL is to provide consistent, reliable and affordable electricity service to our customers, while maintaining a viable operation. We would like to thank our customers for their continued patronage, and we are most appreciative of your support as we execute our mandate and policies that are in the best interest of the people of the Bahamas.”

Mr Roberts said in a statement that the initiative will be “a government-sponsored programme,” and not a BPL one.

“We are already exploring the best ways to implement the policy, for example by using smart cards and prepaid meters,” he said.

He added: “Back in 2012, the PLP promised to lower the cost of electricity. And we have done so: since 2012, electricity costs have been brought down by over 40 per cent.

“Changes are continually being made to bring about improvements which will continue to result in a lowering of electricity costs. Having brought about those changes, we know that economically, things are still tough for many Bahamians. So based on extensive and detailed research, and along with the measures we are currently undertaking, we are now able to propose this new initiative.”

In his statement, Mr Roberts said this initiative will help those who are most needy.

“These are people who are struggling the most, and need assistance in maintaining even a basic level of electricity supply,” Mr Roberts said. “Although specific levels will be determined nearer the time of the introduction of the policy, the customers who will benefit currently pay around $50 per person per month, which covers all basic electricity usage.

“As well as helping Bahamians, this policy also fulfils another strategic priority, which is to encourage energy conservation. So this policy will help to reduce the cost-of-living and the environmental benefits will help the whole country. Set against the costs which have been projected in the economic model, the net benefit to the country is extremely favourable.

“From the research undertaken, we know that those who will be positively impacted under this policy will be able to use electricity at a level which will cover all their basic household necessities,” the PLP chairman said.

When contacted, Free National Movement Deputy Leader Peter Turnquest called the electricity pledge a “desperate and disastrous plan” by a visionless government.

Mr Turnquest also cried shame on Prime Minister Perry Christie for “taking the Bahamian people for fools” and said it is frightening that the government would even propose such a preposterous idea.

“First of all, if they could afford to give away free electricity that means you have been overcharging the Bahamian people for the last five years,” Mr Turnquest told The Tribune.

“Remember Bradley Roberts tried a similar tactic by reducing the base rate and that threw BEC into the loss situation it is in today with no capital and unable to invest in or maintain new engines. This is a disastrous plan by a desperate prime minister.”

The East Grand Bahama MP said if the government really wanted to help Bahamians with the cost of electricity, officials would address fuel prices.

“They need to deal with the cost of fuel and the inefficiencies of the engines,” Mr Turnquest said. “If they want to provide relief, they need to free the noose around Bahamians’ necks with this fuel supply and engage in a true partnership with the operator of Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) to modernise the facility.

“They also need to make the business plan, which we paid for, public and add solar energy to the policy plan. What they are suggesting is desperate and frightening and I cry shame on the prime minister for taking the Bahamian people for fools.”

Comments

The_Oracle 3 years, 1 month ago

That's it, reduce average Bahamians to putting quarters in a meter for Electricity and water. Boy, we really have come a long way. Meanwhile, Mr. L.Miller has been testing the new Free Electric plan for years, has worked great for him.

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PastorTroy 3 years, 1 month ago

God, where is death? Please, PLEASE do us a favor, and make it naturally. Thanks!

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SP 3 years, 1 month ago

..................... Bradley Gargoyle Roberts Is Full Of Dead Rodent Excrement .....................

This dumb-ass man is the most reprehensible, deceitful, lowlife, scumbag in the entire country!

The drop in electricity cost has NOTHING to do with the PLP 2012 promise and EVERYTHING to do with the fall of oil prices on the spot market.

http://www.infomine.com/ChartsAndData...">http://www.infomine.com/ChartsAndData...

The fact is, these jackass PLP pirates have keep electricity cost artificially higher than they should be, as the price of oil is MORE THAN 50% LESS NOW than it was in 2012 AND has been for a very long time while they continued to STEAL from the public with exorbitantly high electricity bills...........FOR YEARS!!!

NOBODY can be stupid enough to believe anything the P-lunder L-oot & P-illage group of thieving assholes has to say.

Stupid, Dumb-Ass, "Gargoyle Roberts" Needs To STFU!

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DDK 3 years, 1 month ago

Don't let us forget the VAT on the electricity consumption AND the VAT on the fuel surcharge!

Plunder Loot Pillage - Good one! Needs to go viral!

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OMG 3 years, 1 month ago

What nonsense for a country deep in debt. As for electricity bills down by 40% that is not reflected in my bill. Mr Miller owes over $100,000 on two properties but surely he is not in the lower income bracket ?. The reality is that this is simply vote catching rhetoric and if ever implemented would be reserved for the favoured few at the expense of the rest of the public PLP and FNM.

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moncurcool 3 years, 1 month ago

Isn't it amazing that Roberts is defending a plan that the Prime Minister, in another daily, said is not a part of his platform. It s pure election ploy. Tried to fool me once in 2012 with believe in Bahamians. Will not fool me in 2017 with this garbage.

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 1 month ago

Perry says that the Charter 2.0 is not ready to be released .......... BOL

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John 3 years, 1 month ago

So let me see if I get this right. BPL is not going to be giving free electricity but the government is going to be taking other tax money to pay some persons light bill? Well kiss a rabbit and feed him corn. What sense does that make? Would it not be better to bring down the cost of electricity for every one and then the cost of living for everyone will also come down. If you compare your electricity bills for 2015 and 2016 the 2016 are 20-25% higher. And 2017 first quarter bills are still higher than 2016 except in the instance where a person may have put in energy saving provisions like led bulbs or solar panels. The people must demand to see BPL's business plan and the projected cost of electricity for the next five years. Power companies that are using the same inputs that are available to BPL have some of the lowest electricity rates in the world and they give away free energy on off peak hours. When is BPL proposing to stop using bunker C sludge that is now banned in many parts of the world?

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proudloudandfnm 3 years, 1 month ago

The PLP cut electric rates by 40%?!?!?

This peice of garbage sure does lie well...

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 1 month ago

Check your 2012 bill and check your 2017 bill ........ what does it read????? By now, we should have all been on home solar units ........ that should be the thrust of the FNM message on energy reform ........ How can Bahamian families acquire home solar units for $5,000 to $10,000 instead of shopping online for a cheap Japanese car for the same price ...... watsayu???????

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MembaDaTime 3 years, 1 month ago

Do you remember da time? Remember the BAMSI building not being insured? Remember the mortgage relief program? Remember Christie calling a bank to make sure a personal friend didn't get foreclosed on his beachfront property? Remember the lack of a FOIA in five years? I remember. But you wouldn't know it from these lackluster FNM ads about BahaMar. Honestly though, the PLP is likely to win despite outrageously arrogant leadership due to Minnis not being able to understand that he needs to go and let other more dynamic people rise up. Sad, really.

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ohdrap4 3 years, 1 month ago

free electricity is window dressing before the election for something that already exists. people can now, and have been able to for years, receive assistance to pay utility bills from social services, to a cap of 600 per year, aha, that is 50 per month. with that, comes the usual vetting by social workers who decide 'who is eligible''.

might as well add ' free food' to the flyer because they give out 80(eighty) dollars per month for one adult person, and up to 180 (one hundrend eighty) per month for a family.

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