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High Bills Spark ‘Cut Off’ Review

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

BAHAMAS Power and Light’s chairman Donovan Moxey yesterday revealed the corporation was considering a review of BPL’s disconnection policy in view of the temporary hike in electricity costs.

While the government has increased the Value Added tax free ceiling on electricity costs to $300, some argue this will do little to assist those with skyrocketing bills. Consumers have also speculated whether disconnections would also increase over the next few months.

“To tell you the truth I just came out of a meeting where that subject is being discussed,” Mr Moxey said when The Tribune asked him if BPL planned to relax its disconnection policy.

“We’re discussing internally what the plan is going to be and once that plan has been completed then we will make some public announcements on that because that is something that we are actively discussing - what the policy needs to be - so that’s where we are right now.”

Mr Moxey said: “We’ve been telling people if they have questions with their bills or if they think their bill is incorrect to come into customer service and we will deal with them in the normal processes that BPL has in place so we have made that known and we continue to make that known as well.

“One of the things we also say to our customers is if you are 30 days or more late then they are a candidates for disconnection and again obviously we have a process at our disposal, but we just want people if they have difficulty paying their bills to come into to us.

“We do have a payment plan but like I said we are revisiting that to see if we can put some things together that’s a lot more favourable to our customers, but then balance out the fact as an organisation we need to maintain a certain level.”

“So there’s definitely discussions on our part and we are going to be looking to see what’s the best course moving forward for all concerned.”

Mr Moxey could not say whether the recent spike has impacted the rate of disconnections.

Earlier this month, Mr Moxey told Tribune Business BPL was “looking at all options” to secure cheaper fuel sources amid fierce consumer criticism of high electricity bills.

He said: “We are looking at all options in order to alleviate the issue of having the expensive fuels to generate power for us at this time. That is what we are looking at.”

He added that the monopoly energy provider has had to rely more on its Blue Hills plant, and more expensive fuel, to meet New Providence’s electricity needs due to recent fires that knocked out two of its most efficient generation units at the Clifton power plant.

“Obviously for us the first step is to make an assessment of the units and determine whether they can be adequately repaired and brought back into service. We are looking at all of our options right now. I would rather not go into details,” Mr Moxey said of the blaze-damaged generators at the time.

He recently conceded that increased dependence on BPL’s Blue Hills power station, which uses a more expensive fuel in ADO (diesel oil), has added to the recent spike in customer electricity bills.

Aggreko also provides 80 megawatts (MW) of temporary generation at BPL’s Blue Hills plant, and Dr Moxey said the utility has had to acquire a further ten MW of expensive diesel-burning units from the same supplier.

He made the comments two days before Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced the VAT exempt ceiling will increase to $300 per month until the end of next June.

This change will be made effective next month and be seen in BPL’s January billing cycle.

The ceiling for VAT exemption on electricity bills was set at $200 during the 2018-2019 budget debate earlier this year.

Noting the undue burden electricity costs have put on citizens, Dr Minnis further assured Bahamians that he remained resolute regarding the need for this country to substantially reduce its energy costs.

Comments

alfalfa 5 months, 4 weeks ago

"Obviously for us the first step is to make an assessment of the units and determine whether they can be adequately repaired and brought back into service". These units were damage by fire months ago and BPL has not even assessed their damage status yet? What a bunch of incompetent jokers. The consumer pays through the nose for inconsistent, fluctuating power that damages appliances, which continues to become more expensive, and this is the best B---s--t that they can come up with. Time for a solution and less talk Mr. Minister and Mr. Prime Minister. Your people are suffering.

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DDK 5 months, 4 weeks ago

You are absolutely right. It's all too unbelievable yet they all continue babbling nonsense and have no idea how to improve anything. The former government brought in so-called experts form the great U.S. to manage BEC and look where that got us. Now they are babbling about public/private partnerships. Who in their right mind would partner with the Bahamas government? Only another crooked organization.

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truetruebahamian 5 months, 4 weeks ago

Has any insurance been worked through and applied to the costs of repairs and/or replacement - or possibly to fuel costs?

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DWW 5 months, 4 weeks ago

Low voltage = high amperage = hi watt-hour usage = high bills. It's an easy way to increase revenue without raising the rates one bit.

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Chucky 5 months, 4 weeks ago

Volts × Amps = watts. It's that simple

True that when voltage drops amperage will go up to accommodate a given load, however there is no increase in power consumption i.e. watts consumed.

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DWW 5 months, 4 weeks ago

And no charges of arson investigated after the union made threats a few short days before the double fire? Coincidence???

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ThisIsOurs 5 months, 4 weeks ago

The engine was started against advice with no one in place to perform regular checks. Listen to Heastie waffle when McCartney asked him the question, he went all the way down East St south, materialized up Lyford Cay and caught a pigeon to get Nassau east. Im wondering if insurance will pay anything if a crack investigator has to interview him.

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stillwaters 5 months, 4 weeks ago

I thought the PLP raped the Bahamian people of their money, but BOY...................the FNM are the champions at this money raping.

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licks2 5 months, 4 weeks ago

At least them FNM did not tief we moneys dem. . .

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DDK 5 months, 4 weeks ago

Your blinders are affecting your party loyalty reasoning.

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bahamian242 5 months, 4 weeks ago

I beg to differ, its nor PLP or FNM its the UNION of BPL that's doing the Raping.....

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TalRussell 5 months, 4 weeks ago

Ma Comrades, increase peoplepublics light bill then throw them how line up apply crumbs is what I call the "Skinner Box" application which translates truest form the red shirts cabinet's operant conditioning imperialism upon 91,409 voting red, exactly 559 days past. { Why waste energy make such up about a political party now subscribing inflicting red Imperialism communism upon people? }

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SP 5 months, 4 weeks ago

That "increased dependence on BPL’s Blue Hills power station" undoubtedly can only lead to overworked, under-serviced generators and serious power failures!

People who can afford standby generators better start making the move to get one asap.

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Bonefishpete 5 months, 4 weeks ago

Solar gonna save you all. Doc said so himself.

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OMG 5 months, 4 weeks ago

This is the result of years of poor management and political interference resulting in a "its running so lets ignore it" attitude. Look in a Bahamian dictionary and the word "maintenance" is probably missing . A side effect not mentioned is that yes you give relief in the form of a zero VAT levied on bills of 300 BUT shops with freezers and other suppliers have to increase costs because they certainly can't keep below 300.00.

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