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Families Face $30 Bill To Bail Out Bpl

Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister.

Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister.

By SYANN THOMPSON

Tribune Staff Reporter

sthompson@tribunemedia.net

BAHAMAS Power and Light customers will see a $20 to $30 increase in their monthly electricity bills for 10 months starting in 2020, according to Minister of Works Desmond Bannister.

While debating the Electricity Rate Reduction Bond Act in the House of Assembly yesterday, Mr Bannister said that the issuance of the bonds will be used to refinance BPL’s $321m debt to pay for phase two of the new Wartsila power plant and manage other liabilities.

“We expect that the issuance of the rate reduction bonds will lead to a temporary increase in the average household billing of an average of $20 to $30 monthly for about 10 months in 2020,” he told Parliament. “The good news is that this will be a short-term increase that will be wiped out in 2021 when the cost of generation will decrease drastically due to the completed installation of the second station consisting of even more new fuel efficient engines, better operation performance, and lower fuel costs brought on by the utilisation of Shell’s internationally respected hedging expertise.”

The Carmichael MP explained that the Rate Reduction Bond Act passed under the former Christie administration mandated officials to increase electricity bills at that time in order to properly finance BPL. Instead of doing that, Mr Bannister accused the Progressive Liberal Party of bypassing the increase and hiring 166 people at BPL which caused overstaffing.

Successive governments have failed at turning the former Bahamas Electricity Corporation, now BPL, into a self-sustaining corporation, now Mr Bannister is hoping with new legislation there will be a change. He said that the government will focus on replacing the 17 engines with an average life of 26 years, to updated machinery.

“In three weeks, seven of these powerful, efficient Wartsila engines will come online. It will be the first time since 1982 that we have invested in more than two engines, and it will begin the transformation to reliable, inexpensive power that this country needs,” said Mr Bannister.

As the government is seeking to raise $650 million dollars for BPL, Mr Bannister outlined what will happen as a result of the new legislation. “We will safeguard the stability of BPL by refinancing existing legacy debt owed by BEC and BPL to commercial banks of approximately $320 million dollars which falls due in December 2019. This permits the debt to be repaid on more flexible terms over a period of 20 to 30 years as opposed to the current short-term rolling debt,” he said.

“We will fund critical infrastructure investments of approximately $220 million which will stabilise the electricity system of The Bahamas, expand generation capacity, reduce the cost of fuel, help meet government solar objectives, and improve metering collections.”

The new Electricity Rate Reduction Bond Bill 2019, similar to the Rate Reduction Act 2015, requires every BPL customer by law to pay the rate reduction bond fee. The new legislation will repeal and replace the 2015 law. 

Comments

proudloudandfnm 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Nassuvians time to unite! Simply DO NOT PAY YOUR BILL. Everyone. Stop paying the day they activate this charge. BPL can't disconnect everybody, stop paying and let government know we'll pay when the charge is eliminated....

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Dawes 1 month, 3 weeks ago

And yet nothing has changed at BPL, no one has been fired for gross incompetence, no one has been arrested for theft or corruption. But no its easier to just make the people pay more. Theres been no change at BPL to make people feel we won't be right back in this situation in a couple years. Please DNA start coming out with some good ideas etc as the two parties that have run this country for over 50 years have brought us to ruin and are too dumb to even realize it.

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buddah17 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Maybe it should work this way. $20 a month for 10 months ONLY; is put into a holding account that is in the name of the consumer and BPL. Nobody can "withdraw" unless BOTH sign the cheque. Then AFTER the 12 months when ALL of the "brand new generators are up and running, the money is withdrawn by both parties, with the cheque going to BPL. As this is a guarenteed "bond" a local (or several) banks should cover BPL until then. (They could make interest on the funds that would be in their bank.) However, if the plant ISN'T up and running by then, the BANK(S) own the power company!!! (Might work out better if that happend anyway...

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Just about anyone, except of course those who received a D- education in our failed and dysfunctional public education system, can do the basic maths and learn for themselves that Desmond Bannister is lying through his teeth. Our electricity bills are going to be much higher, in fact multiples of times higher, than the amounts he would have you believe. And here's how you know Bannister is nothing but a pathological liar: The interest amounts (rates) to be paid on the bonds have not even been determined yet, and that's because our government has only recently found out that the agents for the prospective bond holders are demanding outrageously high interest rates as a result of their careful due diligence. Pay no attention to anything the very deceitful Bannister has to say. The truth is Bahamians are about to be saddled by the Minnis-led FNM government with humongous increases in their electricity bills for many years to come, the likes of which they have never seen before and most likely will not be able to afford.

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hrysippus 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Almost half a century of socialist governments and the government corporations are all ready to bankrupt? Wow, how did that happen? Is it possible socialist policies do not work? But in Haiti the socialist government even makes sue that gas and diesel are cheap to buy, I think that that is working out really well/////////

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sheeprunner12 1 month, 3 weeks ago

How many PEPs are still exempted from paying BPL??????? .................. How many illegal reconnections are done by BPL employees (for favours)?????? ........... How many BPL employees continue to work OT and pay their bosses a percentage?????? ........... How many senior managers will collect bonuses even though BPL is continuing to lose money???? .......... Who continues to get the fat contracts from BPL with no public advertisements or documents made available to the Parliament and the public?????????

When will the Government address these matters??????????? ..... Accountability First.

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TheMadHatter 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Those matters are being addressed here. The article says "Families" will pay. The families of those corrupt people you just mentioned. Everyone knows someone who knows someone. That's our system. If you want the brownouts and blackouts to stop though, it's time for everyone to oay someone who pays someone.

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yeahyasee 1 month, 3 weeks ago

The new Electricity Rate Reduction Bond Bill 2019, similar to the Rate Reduction Act 2015, requires every BPL customer by law to pay the rate reduction bond fee. The new legislation will repeal and replace the 2015 law.

Can we have a referendum on the this please LMAO If ya don't laugh...

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sheeprunner12 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Big difference ......... this is a flat rate payment. PLP had sliding scale based on your consumption rate

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TheMadHatter 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Sheep - that is good it is flat. The poor people can't keep their women bellies flat. Maybe this will help. Government should include one free condom in every bill envelope. For some reason Bahamians by majority think babies are free.

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geostorm 1 month, 3 weeks ago

We are spiraling out of control. How can we do better? We have to do better!

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TheMadHatter 1 month, 3 weeks ago

We would be less upset about paying this if we knew where all th3 VAT money goes. Over 900 million each year since 2015 and ZERO accounting for it. They cannot say where one red cent gone.

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