By EARYEL BOWLEG
BAHAMAS Power and Light (BPL) will immediately suspend disconnections until March 31.
In a public notice sent out on Tuesday, the power company noted: “As the nation adapts to the stringent measures taken by the government of The Bahamas to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) wishes to announce the following measures instituted in support of the government’s efforts to protect Bahamians.”
Along with the suspended disconnections, operations at the Mall at Marathon will also be suspended until March 31.
BPL encouraged its customers to observe the 24-hour curfew and said employees are maintaining an active customer call centre.
When contacted yesterday, BPL’s director of communications, Quincy Parker said the company could not say how many people would be affected by the suspension in disconnections.
BPL had planned to institute a bill increase this month to pay for a rate reduction bond.
However, that process has been delayed due because the bond has not been finalised.
“We are moving forward with finalising the required documents and processes to support the rate reduction bond offering,” Mr Parker said in an email in response to The Tribune’s questions. “The bond will be taken to market after all final approvals have been granted, and there is a favourable market window for the bond offering to be successful. The additional charges to consumer bills will appear after the bond has been closed as per the terms of the bond offering.”
Bahamians are staying at home and many businesses have suspended operations due to emergency orders executed by Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis in response to the pandemic.
Asked if the curfew is causing an increase in power usage, Mr Parker said BPL has actually seen a moderate reduction in demand due to cooler weather.
“Demand on BPL’s generation system is usually driven more by temperature than anything else,” he said. “Taking into consideration fluctuations in the daily temperatures, the fact is that BPL has seen a moderate reduction in demand since the implementation of the curfew. “However, that reduction has not led to a demand that is outside the typical range for this time of year, given those temperature fluctuations.”