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Updated: Bpl Disconnections Suspended For As Long As Emergency Orders Maintained

Long lines at BPL on Wednesday morning. Photos: Terrel W Carey Sr/Tribune staff

Long lines at BPL on Wednesday morning. Photos: Terrel W Carey Sr/Tribune staff

WEDNESDAY EVENING UPDATE: Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) said it would continue to suspend disconnections as long as the government maintains emergency orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented enormous challenges,” BPL CEO Whitney Heastie said in a statement. “When the government went to 24-hour curfew, as part of our efforts to ease the pain and stress of our fellow Bahamians, we suspended disconnections through March 31.

“Per our discussions with the government, I am happy to announce that the suspension of BPL disconnections will continue for as long as the government maintains emergency orders.”

Mr Heastie encouraged Bahamians and residents to observe the curfew and the shelter-in-place orders. To that end, he highlighted the many electronic avenues through which customers can interact with BPL.

• Customers can pay via telephone at 302-1130 through 302-1142.

• Customers can pay online at www.bplco.com.

• Customers who have issues with logging into the online system can call 225-5275 (CALL BPL) or email pinreset@bplco.com for assistance with that particular issue.

• Customers can pay online through private banks by selecting BPL as a payee through the private bank’s bill paying mechanism.

Mr Heastie added, “Again, we recognise this is a difficult time. That’s why together with the government we have introduced deferred payments for those directly affected by COVID-19. Our COVID-19 Relief Programme covers three categories of persons: residential customers who are diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus, residential customers who are in quarantine due to the virus, and residential customers have been laid off as a result of the virus.”

The BPL COVID-19 Relief Programme allows customers who meet the criteria listed to defer payments on their BPL bills for an initial period of three months. For qualification and registration criteria, customers can email covid19@bplco.com or use CALL-BPL.

“As Bahamians continue to cope with the unprecedented challenges of this virus, we at BPL are committed to assisting our customers as best we can through the difficulties ahead,” Mr Heastie added. “In addition to the COVID-19 Relief Programme, we have our regular payment plans that are accessible to our customers as a means to deal with outstanding arrears, and we have instituted a special assistance programme for customers over the age of 60.”

To access any of the assistance programmes, customers are asked to contact CALL BPL (225-5275).

12.50pm UPDATE: Minister of Works Desmond Bannister has advised Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) to cease disconnections. However, BPL CEO Whitney Heastie has said, while the disconnections will stop, people who can pay their bills should do so and contact BPL by phone for options.

LONG lines formed at Bahamas Power and Light Wednesday morning as residents flocked to the utility provider to pay their bills and avoid disconnection.

The Tribune met scores of people queuing around BPL’s Blue Hill Road location this morning. There was reportedly a similar scene yesterday. Although many tried to keep their distance from others, they did not appear to be the recommended six feet apart to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Some wore face masks.

BPL had initially halted disconnections until March 31 in light of the pandemic and economic crisis. However the government-owned utility has announced that disconnections would resume today.

Progressive Liberal Party Leader Philip “Brave” Davis said in a statement that the decision could not come at a worst time when “massive increases in job losses and applications for social assistance and unemployment benefits are with us.”

For more on this story, see Thursday’s Tribune.

Comments

RealTalk 9 months, 2 weeks ago

This has to be a joke. April Fools everyone!

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ohdrap4 9 months, 2 weeks ago

They announced no disconnections too soon. No one paid. Lol.

They should have given exemption on a case by case basis.

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tetelestai 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Are these Bahamians aware that you can pay this bill online - from the comfort of home and free from pptentially contracting COVID-19? We continue to show what a banana republic we are.

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ohdrap4 9 months, 2 weeks ago

The BPL app and online system shut down when they upgraded it. LOL.

I paid it through my bank tho.

I think I was the only customer who paid them. LOL.

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xtreme2x 9 months, 2 weeks ago

WERE YOU SUCCESSFUL IN PAYING YOU BPL BILL ON LINE? I TRIED BUT THEY SAID YOU NEED A PIN. GIVE YOU A NUMBER TO CALL FOR PIN. NO ONE NEVER ANSWER PHONE.

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ohdrap4 9 months, 2 weeks ago

I added Bpl as a payee on my Rbc account. If they reject your bill number fill it out with a bunch of zeros.

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tetelestai 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Yes, I was. I paid it yesterday as a matter of fact.

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Islangal1 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Tell that to the gentleman standing in line who looks like he's about 70! And the countless others who have no access to the internet, who are paying cash. Plus BPL cashless system is rarely working, when I was home I was always pissed that I was unable to pay bills online or set up a direct debit.

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ThisIsOurs 9 months, 2 weeks ago

That man don't trust the internet. He'll take his chances on the line wuth real money

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bahamianson 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Everytime there is a digital problem with Cable Bahamas , BPL and other companies, they say they are upgrading. Guess what? I didn't pay my bill for March, I am upgrading.

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John 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Conserve. This crisis may go beyond the end of April.

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DWW 9 months, 2 weeks ago

April? thats a fools joke. quarantine just delays things. this will continue for 4 to 6 months minimum.

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moncurcool 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Who cares about Phillip Davis statement. He is just trying to score political points at a time that is not needed.

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Rinks 9 months, 2 weeks ago

WHAT A DISGRACE!!@@@ BPL and the government. People cant afford to put food on Table because there not working.. Government demands insurance companies waive premiums But BPL has to be paid....whats the difference between these companies ?????? Fools!!!!! Running around as politicians...Privatisation is the way to go

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proudloudandfnm 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Time to fire Heastie, what an imbecile.

As for the issue at BPL. I DO NOT CARE. It's a couple of months, bite the bullet and shut up about your money problems. Tell staff they'll get paid when you can pay and not before.

I hope all Bahamians see the real problem here. This has nothing to do with the virus, this id a result of jobs for votes. Period. BEC is severely overstaffed. So next time you tell an MP I won't for you unless you get me a job, remember this.

Just keep the lights on that is the primary mission, your staff is secondary.

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Bahamianbychoice 9 months, 2 weeks ago

I totally agree. Heastie and Rollins must go! Everyone is tired of the stupid backdoor corrupt deals that have been happening. Everyone getting contracts.. including I hear some of these present Directors! You are correct they all now need to figure it out and keep the lights on!! Disgraceful!!

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Bahamianbychoice 9 months, 2 weeks ago

At some point..when all settles...an official investigation at BPL needs to be done reviewing all these contracts..for example..for these new engines that cant seem to get working..yet cost the Bahamian taxpayers millions.

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hrysippus 9 months, 2 weeks ago

I see in the picture that everyone is lining up outside the BPL building which is called The Peter bethell Building. Is this the same Peter Bethel who infamously said "All for me, Baby." on the plp campaign trail many years ago, or is this building named after another Peter Bethel who was a BEC employee? Anyone know the answer?

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ohdrap4 9 months, 2 weeks ago

No. Not the politician.

This was a mild mannered guy who was a real engineer and came through the ranks at BPL.

Don't know if he is still alive, but would be in his 80s.

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BONEFISH 9 months, 2 weeks ago

The late Sir Clement Maynard famously said those words.

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avidreader 9 months, 2 weeks ago

The answer is that you are thinking of a completely different person. Incidentally, I was listening to the radio a while ago and heard the BPL spokesman outlining the company's efforts in Marsh Harbour. Obviously he was reading from a script and has not been there himself. If they worked any more slowly they would be going in reverse. I have my doubts about ever having power restored to my property there.

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DWW 9 months, 2 weeks ago

7 months and not a single house is reconnected... but they are dong a bangup excellent job. LOLOL

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Bahamianbychoice 9 months, 2 weeks ago

And yet isn’t BPL paying huge salaries still to the Expats that are overseeing Abaco...yet no results...and the company is broke..

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sweptaway 9 months, 2 weeks ago

no expats here no money either no wire no hardware poles laying on the ground since last October !power plant on main road in shambles and no body working on it .but not all bad news ,a fleet of new trucks so they can ride around and sit in AC and browse the phones . this is exactly what you get when the Government owns the utility and Union labor is in charge! No one is held accountable and the utility is 350 million dollars in debt! !So 400 million people all owe the BPL 1million each ! stand in line and pay those bills!

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TalRussell 9 months, 2 weeks ago

As soon virus clears the Imperialists red shirts going construct to brungs back Victorian Debtors Prison exclusively to awaits those unable pay-up BPL, Water Sewage, and they curfew fines!
You think there's sufficient photographic justification for the comrade judge who imprisoned the curfew breaking Homeless man's that not to order his immediate release from Fox Hill Prison would make mockery colony's criminal laws if no order was signed for immediate arrest, charging and imprisonment of the colony's PM, AG, Security Minister, Chief Constabulary - along with PM's lesser minister creole language interpretation Frankie?
Likewise, shouldn't the same vacating of sentencing apply to all others who were fined $500 to $1,500 under the threat imprisonment if they default forking up monies to court.
Can't make this shi# up. Just, can't. Nod once for yeah, Twice for no?

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ThisIsOurs 9 months, 2 weeks ago

debtors prison...Creole language interpretation Frankie...lol

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Player600 9 months, 2 weeks ago

But on a real people. This is a crazy situation that the world is in, and nobody can argue with that, however BPL does not disconnect you after non-payment for 1 month. If people are on a disconnect list, it is because of not paying your account for a few months at least.. and no I do not work for BPL or affiliated with them in any way. Everyone has personal responsibility, and if you are on a list, it would have been long before Covid-19 hit us.

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avidreader 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Further to my comments posted earlier today with reference to BPL in Marsh Harbour, I have to add that their crews appear to be scattered too widely and so are unable to complete the work required for a single area to be considered for reconnection. It is true that many buildings are in such terrible condition as to be ineligible for safe reconnection. However, there are a number of buildings in residential areas (such as mine) ready for reconnection after having been inspected by a licensed electrician. Additionally, there are local people seeking rental properties relatively near to their own repair and reconstruction projects in the Marsh Harbour area. It is true that areas well to the south of Marsh Harbour have power but that is of little consolation to people like me who still use candles and a generator.

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