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‘Lenient’ Bpl Let Staff Run Up Debts

FORMER Executive Chairman of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation Leslie Miller.

FORMER Executive Chairman of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation Leslie Miller.

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

BAHAMAS Power and Light’s policy that allowed workers with overdue accounts to avoid disconnection was instituted for “leniency in hard times,” not as “privilege,” claimed Bahamas Electricity Corporation Executive Chairman Leslie Miller.

Calling BPL’s recent decision to drop the policy “a dramatic change,” Mr Miller told The Tribune he was in no position to critique the move.

“Son, the move has been made and as big as this is, this is a dramatic change to say the least, I can’t breathe on it because the government, through the corporation has made its decision.”

The former Tall Pines MP said the system, as he found it when appointed Chairman, was not operated to favour employees, but rather to offer them opportunities to “get it together.”

Mr Miller claimed: “Normally you would have allowed staff to have a balance and deduct from their salaries because we knew in the months of January and September things were tough.”

He continued: “I don’t want people to look at this and think otherwise, we weren’t doing this as a privilege. We knew in September and January things were a little tougher, so we gave a little leniency in hard times.”

“It was the standard practice. Nothing special; things tough, so you help.”

In a memo obtained by The Tribune last week, BPL said it was “intensifying its disconnection exercises” in an effort to improve the company.

However, it was unclear how many BPL employees had overdue accounts or how much money was owed the corporation.

“Effective immediately, we will be disconnecting the electricity supply on all employee accounts with substantial arrears,” the memo said.

“Therefore, employees are strongly encouraged to take the necessary measures to bring their account balances to a current status in order to avoid the interruption of their electricity supply.”

The memo came two months after The Tribune revealed that BPL gave politicians and government officials who were on the special “do not disconnect” list seven days to pay their “outrageous” bills or be shut off.

BPL chairwoman Darnell Osborne declined to comment on the matter when contacted yesterday.

In September, Central Bank of The Bahamas’ monthly report that revealed that BPL’s fuel charge increased by 8.3 per cent to 13.7 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) on a monthly basis, and by 49.7 per cent when compared to May 2016.

In a statement, BPL explained that an increase in bills for the month of May was also caused by its reliance on engines at the Blue Hills Plant, which uses more expensive fuel than the Clifton Power Station.

Comments

John 1 month ago

So let’s get this right: BPL staff are among the highest paid in the country right? But yet ‘because of hard times these workers are allowed to run up electricity bills at BPL. But yet some of these same workers went out on the street and disconnected the lights of unemployed mothers, home with sick and elderly persons. Homes where people were struggling to make ends meet. And in all their glory and in the absence of shame they were not paying the same bills they were disconnecting other people for. Does the bottle of foolishness ever get empty? This is surely too much to drink.

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Reality_Check 1 month ago

Leslie "Woman Slapper" Miller is a loud-mouthed two-bit low-life crook who thinks anyone who is not a crook just like him is a fool.

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ohdrap4 1 month ago

It was hush puppies.

they were told not to disconnect the politicians, so they were bribed in kind to keep quiet.

the janitresses at bpl make 25,000 per year, as much as a primary school teacher.

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TalRussell 1 month ago

Comrades! Comments by the two prominent PLP's, does transmits a clear signal to younger PLP's that the party's October 23, 2017 Convention - is being orchestrated by old war horses to be steps taken in the backwards direction. Nothing short of a complete boycott of the party's October Convention - by younger PLP's, will deliver the stern message these old war horses needs to hear - and hear it ever so loudly and clearly. Get Lost!

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DDK 1 month ago

If your synopsis is correct ohdrap4, and your information on the salary is accurate, this is beyond incredible.

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ohdrap4 1 month ago

Contact the tribune, a couple of years ago there editorials on such matters, the information is in the public domain and you might even find it on the internet.

Ah, and water and sewage pay scale is even higher.

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sheeprunner12 1 month ago

While the Government contract worker/janitress makes $10,000 ........ smh

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bogart 1 month ago

25k pa salary is ok as it would be legitimately done and approved by management on one side and the Union on the other side.

What is crap is the govt who the people democratically elected then in some manner have cronies or appointees to management or Board of Directors who allowed it to happen.

Regretably none are ever punished for incompetamce, inept, lazy, intellectually dishonest, guilty of favouritosm or any action or inaction leading to the demise of the company or govt institution they are appointed to and the public is left to suffer or be deprived of these misused funds that could have made the public better

So far we the pore have had to support or suffer failings like the Supermarket where Bshamians are waiting for pension, support and guarranttee for Gulf Union bank depositors, Bahamar where funds used to pay workers, Clico where public funds are paying persons who are owed, Bank of the Bahamas where public funds used to support bank, bad loams given and no one punished for any failings, Bahamair, Water and Sewage, Bamsi damages, etcetc

Now that staff have run up loans at BPL while the pore Bajamians arr wothout lights should have someone accountable for this unfair use of public funds with some benefitting and the pore public have their lights turned off.

How criminally unfair it would be if some BPL employee or staff with a higher amount ownig is in the office goving instructions to disconnect a customers lights who owe a smaller balance.

Thanks to the Tribune for raising these eye popping stories.

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DEDDIE 1 month ago

Crazy is what crazy does. No wonder BEC can't make a profit. Everyone cried foul when Grand Bahama Power Company turnoff the power to a school.

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TalRussell 1 month ago

Comrades! Please, someone explains to the Pot cake - why the people done knows, why some customers lights never got's cut-off.

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OMG 1 month ago

For once we agree.

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ThisIsOurs 1 month ago

As long as the balance is not outrageous, is going down and is not perpetual, I don't see anything wrong with it. It's common practice for employees to receive privileges from their employer. Since they stopped it, I'll make an assumption that there were abuses, but I can see a situation where the majority of people used the privilege responsibly but they had a few bad apples

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ohdrap4 1 month ago

bpl will keep the light on once you pay one half of the outstanding balance every month.

that works for every customer, but you must not let the half balance grow.

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OMG 1 month ago

In other words a free line of credit to some. Funny ting is that some of those owing huge power bills have a new car in the driveway and the smartest clothes ???

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ohdrap4 1 month ago

It is not a free line of credit to some, it is to all customers.

You will not be disconnected if you pay 50% of your balance each month and the outstanding remaining balance is covered by your deposit.

This is meant to tide the customer over for a couple of months, otherwise after 3 or 4 months the remainder will exceed your deposit.

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ThisIsOurs 1 month ago

No, not "in other words", that's not what I implied. I'm speaking to the policy, not the abuse of the policy. In fact if Ms Osborne had simply said they were going to stop the "abuse", I'd have no issue with that. If someone has a new car, is paying down their BEC bill and the balance is being drawn down with a specified time limit, I'd see no problem with that either. I have no problem with people receiving reasonable privileges

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John 1 month ago

BPL fried everything in my house in May this year. Fridge, a/c’s, cordless phones, computer router. And when you fix them there was another surge. So I left everything off for five months. My light bill cut in half so now I may decide to replace the fridge and computer. No Ac til next year believe that!

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Porcupine 1 month ago

Why not interview Bugs Bunny or Ronnie Raccoon? You'll get just as much truth, sense and proper English grammar from either of those. Leslie Miller is part and parcel of most every problem in The Bahamas. Did we forget about his astronomical light bill?

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Socrates 1 month ago

have to agree with an earlier poster on this... these folks make obscene salaries because they have a good Union and we had weak, shitty negotiators on gov't side who gave away everything, presumably for votes in the future.. i dont recall any mercy from them when they use to threaten/cut the power in december at contract renewal time, so i dont know why they should receive 'leniency' in so-called tough times.

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bogart 1 month ago

Leniecncy.....is not the description of the action.

A govt corporation is funded by the people govt to conduct the business to provide electricity.

Nowhere is there any act to lend or loan money out from the people funded coropration without interest and with terms and conditions.

Perspns acting as money lenders or financial services providers wothout lawful authorized authority must be jailed.

Investigations must be immediatey initiated to see what else is hoppening, auditors, accounting, management and most impottantly by govt appointed Board Of Ditectors. How could sums of electricity corp money be used in this manner AND interest free.

Monies withdrawn prevents proper running to privide synergies of any company to run effectively and efficiently. Operate fpr the mandate. Criminal investigations neefed.

Having a Integrity Committee formed to investigate integrity of govt officials ...................

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OMG 1 month ago

Mr Miller , what utter bollocks. You know and I know that the privileged few were extended these terms and when you explain the hundreds if not thousands cut off for owing less than $200 then you might--just might be believed. So you huge unpaid electricity bill was you being "lenient to yourself" ?

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John 1 month ago

Shopping is different when you have no where to store perishables. one onion, one sweet pepper, one tomato, two potatoes. Then you buy smaller jars of mayonaise and mustard. 1/2 dozen eggs and the 8 slice packs of cheese. You may have to throw away more unused stuff, but your light bill is cut in half.

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