By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
A former Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) chairman yesterday urged the utility to “sort out” its Clifton power plant woes “sooner rather than later”, arguing that the country’s energy costs would now likely match Florida’s had his liquefied natural gas (LNG) plan been embraced.
Leslie Miller, pictured, told Tribune Business: “They need to go and get Clifton sorted out so they can lower the cost of electricity in this country. No one is saying anything about Clifton, the cost associated with the fires and when that situation is going to be resolved. They need to get Clifton sorted out sooner rather than later.”
Dr Donovan Moxey, BPL’s chairman, recently indicated that it is still awaiting final reports from its insurers over the fires. But, as the Government moves forward with the Shell deal to construct a new multi-fuel power plant, Mr Miller lamented what he described as a missed opportunity more than a decade ago.
Then a Cabinet minister, he had strongly advocated for LNG during his tenure as minister of trade and industry in the first Christie administration. “Everyone today is talking LNG. I see now that the cruise ships are talking about LNG,” Mr Miller said.
“In 2005 when we were talking about those things people, especially the armchair environmentalists, were raising hell. They said we were going to blow up the place. That was a huge missed opportunity for the country and it bothers me. Our prices would have been pretty much competitive with Florida today.”
Mr Miller, though, praised BPL for giving consumers a break during the Christmas holidays in an effort to help consumers keep their lights on. Around 15,000 BPL customers will be able to benefit from the utility’s December-only offer, according to Dr Moxey.
BPL will allow customers more than 60 days in arrears to pay 25 percent of their outstanding balance by December 21 to avoid disconnection. Customers who have been disconnected can be connected in time for Christmas if they pay 25 percent of their existing outstanding bills on or before the close of business on December 19.
Mr Miller told Tribune Business: “When we were there we had implemented two polices. During the month of September we gave people a break. We gave consideration to the fact that they had school fees to pay and then, in December, given that people normally try to put food on the table and buy a few gifts. I’m happy that they are doing at least one of those things. Let’s hope that they keep going.”