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Company Lined Up To Probe Rising Electricity Prices, Says Pm Minnis

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis. Photo: Donavan McIntosh

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis. Photo: Donavan McIntosh

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said yesterday that a company was selected to probe the rising cost of electricity, but the details could not be made public because the matter had not yet gone before Cabinet.

His comments came after the government tabled an amendment to the Value Added Tax Act seeking to temporarily increase the VAT-free ceiling on electricity bills to $300.

The amendment will ensure the change does not expire until July 1, 2019.

Increased light bills have been a point of contention for consumers and was part of the reason for a large protest on Bay Street yesterday.

Recognising that many people struggle to financially afford the spike in cost, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis told reporters yesterday the government will do whatever it can to relieve this stress.

“We have committees looking at it,” Dr Minnis told reporters outside Parliament yesterday. “We understand that there are some people having challenges with light bills and we are cognizant of that and we will do whatever we can to try and relieve their pain and their stress.

“That’s what a good government does.”

Asked of the probe, he said: “I can’t tell you anything yet that hasn’t gone to Cabinet, the company has been recommended and it now must be taken forth to Cabinet.”

Earlier this month the prime minister announced the government decided to raise the VAT exemption ceiling. At the time he said changing trends in the cost of the delivery of electricity will inform any decision to extend the increased exemption ceiling into the new fiscal year, beginning July 2019. He attributed the higher costs to fire damaged equipment at Bahamas Power and Light’s Clifton Plant causing the provider to rely heavily on its Blue Hills facility, which is more expensive.

The amendment came into force on November 1 and amends the second schedule to the VAT Act by “increasing the qualifying threshold for the value added tax exemption on a supply of electricity service by any utility service provider from $200 or below per billing cycle to $300 or below per billing cycle.”

Consumers are expected to see the change in their January billing cycles.

Comments

proudloudandfnm 4 months ago

Such a stupid answer. Tired of this old FNM and PLP bull nanny ruse. A company is lined up? Just reverse the damned hike and stop being useless.....

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ThisIsOurs 4 months ago

This is why bills are increasing. The CEO should be able to tell you exactly why rates are rising. If he can't let him go and hire someone with knowledge and experience running a power company. Here we are paying a whole firm to do something we already paying a whole board and CEO to do. Just like finance. This is where the VAT money going, to pay incompetent people or ill suited people to show up to work n a suit.

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sheeprunner12 4 months ago

If FOCOL gets its bulk oil from Houston ........ and Florida gets its bulk oil from Houston ........ Why do we have to pay 100-200% more here???????

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John 4 months ago

Houston..we have a problem.!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 4 months ago

And the problem goes by the name of SNAKE!

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tell_it_like_it_is 4 months ago

And here we go again...
...Spend yet more money to find out why bills are higher!!
Next Minnis is going to hire someone to tell him what he has for breakfast every morning... This haphazard spending has got to STOP!!!

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TalRussell 4 months ago

My question for comrade PM. You seem be quick probe into the going on's your Imperial crown ministers - ministries and departments.... who be probing your own actions?
PM, I do hope you be willing acknowledge that the protest was more about your governing judgement than it was about that of your Imperial crown ministers and political chairman's appoints?

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DDK 4 months ago

Full of bull! Why do we need companies or committees to "look at" what the management team should do as a matter of course - if there was a management team worth its salt and not just a bunch of worthless political appointees who don't know the difference between their derriere and a hole in the ground. THERE SHOULD BE NO VAT ON ELECTRICAL BILLS, FULL STOP.

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Hotelier 4 months ago

Sure, spend money to tell us what we already know......the high cost is the fuel surcharge and the government has always had it in their power to reduce the fuel surcharge. Reduce the 100% duty on fuel!

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Naughtydread 4 months ago

So we are going to pay another company to tell us somthing that we already know!? Can't any of those retards down at BPL who are getting paid top dollars figure this out!? Jesus we live in a country run by monkeys.

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DDK 4 months ago

Don't forget, many of the BEC employees recently took "retirement" packages! They are all running around grinning like cats that just finished great dishes of cream!

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BONEFISH 4 months ago

The chairman of BPL should request this information from the managers of BPL.They should know how this came about ,if they are managing the company.If the managers of BPL can't supply this information,they should be terminated.

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BahamasForBahamians 4 months ago

LMAO.

what he means to say is.. his cronies are forming a company now.

the comittee will appoint them to receive the overpriced investigation contract and still report nothing.

if minnis needs some help on bpl he can start with card carrying FNM cecile green who allowed millions to walk out of the door.

There is no need for a company to be formed to do the same.

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The_Oracle 4 months ago

Shouldn't UCRA, the Regulator, already have the information needed? Already have been appraised by BPL/BEC? Already have reported to the Minister for works who in turn would report to cabinet? Just asking.

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John 4 months ago

Oil prices are at their lowest level since October 2017. And they have been falling for the last five months. So if we are to accept the explanation of Desmond Banister that the fuel we are being billed for was purchased three months ago by BPL and considering that fuel has been on the decline for five months, shouldn't we have been seeing declines in fuel surcharges for at least two months? The fires at BPL were smoke screens (literally smoke screens ma bey) for them to hoodwink and bambozzle their consumers...Who would want to burn down BPL? Who benefitted from the fires? Who is paying higher electricity bills because of the fires? Who is selling higher priced fuel because of the fires? If all the assets that were damaged were insured and will be replaced by insurers, what did BPL lose in the deal? And now for a hard question, ya ready? IF BPL was having power shortages, Black Outs, power failures, and load shedding, when they had FOUR engines online, how is it that they are can maintain a more steady and uninterrupted power supply with only just one engine and higher priced fuel...I'll wait .

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bcitizen 4 months ago

Seriously a consultant company to tell us why BPL bill so high? We might as well just give up now. There is no hope. 100% VAT won't even be enough for our government.

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ThisIsOurs 4 months ago

He will try to spin this to say he ordered the "BPL investigation". This have nothing to do with the power plant bidding process or why the invoice for the generator jump by couple million with no explanation. And it desktop address the travel budget for the mysterious China trip. Who is advising him to try all these slight of hand tricks???

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Well_mudda_take_sic 4 months ago

Instead of introducing business-friendly policies aimed at creating decent paying jobs so that most Bahamians can afford to pay a reasonable monthly electricity bill, dimwitted Minnis prefers to give away electricity for free to lower-income/unemployed Bahamians, especially to those of Haitian heritage, in order to 'buy' their votes thereby leaving the rest of us and our businesses with even higher electricity bills or more tax hikes to make up the revenue shortfalls experienced by BPL/BEC. Meanwhile, all of the government departments, agencies and corporations have gone back to their old habit of not paying their own utility bills, whether they be electricity, water or phone. What a joke! LMAO

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DDK 4 months ago

What a mess Mudda, what a mess!

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gbgal 4 months ago

Can someone explain why we still pay a fuel surcharge? Is this done in other countries? I recall it was applied as an emergency measure during the oil crisis some years ago and was supposed to be removed when the situation no longer existed. Here we are still paying the excess and having VAT added to make it hurt even more! Our burdens continue to increase but relief is nowhere to be seen.

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DDK 4 months ago

You noticed! I keep asking why don't they simply adjust the rate instead of this farcical VAT'd fuel surcharge? This is one of the most irritating aspects of the exorbitant bill. Changing this ridiculous practice would actually take a wee bit of calculation and perhaps a memo.

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stocktonfuller 4 months ago

Instead of spending money trying to figure out what to do about the cost of power, yje Government needs to review the bogus awards for new waste to energy that have gone to a company without funding and unable to complete the project. This in spite of other bidders whose plans would have actually significantly reduced the cost of power on New Providence. We wonder why our previous suggestions to the Tribune to investigate this were ignoredStrong

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Damifiknow 4 months ago

165 tax a gallon plus your vat on top of the duty ,shipping brokerage port fees sure can raise the price a 2 dollar gas to 550 real quick !

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sheeprunner12 4 months ago

If Bahamians want to protest BPL bills ............ pay your bill And not pay the surcharge.

When they come and shut off our power .......... take out a class action suit against Dezzie and the BPL Board ............... Come on !!!!!!

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Bonefishpete 4 months ago

"The bread goes in and the toast comes out, but where does the bread go?"

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