It’s fair to say there’s not a great relationship between BPL and customers at the moment.
As people labour through the summer heat despite regular load shedding and an island-wide outage, another concern has been raised – are our bills going up?
Readers contacted The Tribune to say that while their power has been off, their bill has somehow been creeping up.
One reader said that they had done nothing differently yet their bill went from $150 to $230, two other women reported significant increases despite what they say are no changes to their behaviour.
What does Donovan Moxey, the chairman at BPL, say? Not us, he says, it’s against the law for us to change the cost. The price of oil going up can increase billing – but again, that’s not happening right now.
So what’s the solution to this game of “he says, they say?”
Well, the evidence is right there in your homes. A vast amount of BPL bills are issued based on estimated readings – but in your home is a meter. Find where it is and read the numbers on it – you’ll see it turning with even just a light bulb on in your home. Don’t go messing about with anything, just read the numbers and jot them down.
Track it each week to see how much power you’re using each week and if it’s different from what BPL reckons you’re using, phone them up and tell them! Hold them to account with the facts on your side. Tell them to sort out that power bill right away if it doesn’t match up.
You might, though, find without realising that you are using more power – in which case maybe spare that call to BPL to tell them off.
If you are using more, then start looking at the things you can do to save on power if it’s costing you too much – turning off the TV at night rather than leaving that stand-by light burning, thinking about what devices need to be on all the time or remembering to put out that light before bed.
There are a lot of reasons to be grumpy at BPL right now as we go through a summer of sweat with power outages too common – but for this one, let’s all be sure we have our figures in our hands ready to challenge the company first… and maybe learn a trick or two for savings along the way too. After all, why let your money go to waste?
Audits are doing their work - are enforcers?
Speaking of wasted money, how many times must we hear about audits turning up missing money before we hear more about what’s being done about it.
Today it’s $280,000 missing from Bahamas Embassy records supposedly to pay a school for tuition in Washington, DC.
The school was not named, which seems an unusual thing not to reveal – are there gaps in both the embassy and the school’s records at the same time? We don’t know right now, though presumably the embassy must know which schools they have arrangements with.
This week, the Opposition burst into protest at a $9,000 a month cost for the new Governor General’s accommodation while Government House is being restored, we hope they will be as upset over $280,000 going missing, largely under their own former government’s watch? We think the $9,000 is a monthly sum the nation would be best rid of– but this one audit of a single embassy shows missing money that would pay for that 31 times over.
The audit story is one we keep hearing. Police overtime this week. BAMSI. The National Sports Authority – at least that report is going to the police. The Ministry of Education. They keep coming.
Auditor General Terrance Bastian and his team are doing sterling work – but is their work being acted on?
Let’s be as public in the way we sort out these problems as the way in which they’re announced. Let’s ensure the culprits are identified, and that no one slinks away into shadow.
It doesn’t matter what colour shirt is worn, which shout of “PLP” or “FNM” is made by those who mishandle at best – or defraud at worst – the nation’s money. Whoever does that is in the wrong, and should be held to account. Let’s start doing so.