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Bpl Pulls Plug On 8,700 Late Payers

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Tribune Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

SINCE announcing it would resume customer disconnections back in July, Bahamas Power and Light has turned off 8,741 residential accounts in New Providence and the Family Islands.

According to BPL’s Public Relations Director Quincy Parker, the company began those disconnections on July 1.

Since then, 369 customers signed up for payment plans.

BPL said it has no plans to ramp up disconnections, however 9,262 customer accounts still face being shut off for non-payment — that is 7,068 residential and 2,194 commercial customers.

These figures come after Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis told Parliament on Wednesday that BPL’s leadership had been successful in reducing the electricity rate by 30 percent.

Dr Minnis also praised the company’s leadership for a summer free of load shedding.

While this may have been the case, customers still had to weather dozens of service disruptions this summer for various reasons.

Dr Minnis told Parliament: “… All Bahamians would remember last year what we went through during the summer with load shedding.

“BPL under the leadership of our Minister of Works (Desmond Bannister) and chairman Donovan (Moxey) and leadership Whitney Heastie have succeeded in eradicating load shedding.

“We’ve had no load shedding this summer and in fact many of us have not even recognised that we’ve gone through the summer period (with) no load shedding.

“There were many complaints also about the cost of electricity. I am happy to announce that that team and BPL again were successful in decreasing the electricity rate.

“Now, you will still hear individuals’ bills are lower than previously, but still high, but why is that so? Because we are still affected by the pandemic (and) most of our kids and others are staying indoors utilising more air condition(ing).”

Back in July, Tribune Business reported that less than one percent of the 16,000 BPL customers threatened with disconnection had yet to pay off their arrears or agree to a payment plan.

At the time Mr Parker confirmed in an e-mailed response that just 78 clients had visited BPL and agreed payment plans across all three categories facing loss of their electricity services.

He confirmed then that disconnections had already started for customers who were $500 or more in arrears, and 90 days past due, prior to April 1 and the full onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic plus associated lockdown.

“Disconnections began on July 6,” he said at the time. “[There were] 362 total up to Friday, July 17. Across all three categories, 78 persons have come in and made payment plans.”

The reference to “three categories” reflects that BPL has segmented its delinquent customers into three groups.

Besides those who were $500-plus in arrears for 90 days or more pre-April 1, there is also the group who accumulated the same level of debt during the three-month COVID-19 lockdown which occurred during the first wave of the disease. The final category consists of customers who have applied, and were approved, for the three-month BPL bill deferral programme implemented at the government’s request.

Comments

observer2 1 month, 1 week ago

There is no load shedding this summer because Atlantis, Baha Mar, Breezes, Sandals and Bay St are closed.

Excellent job BPL on not load shedding.

The Prime Minister is to be congratulated in shutting the country down and getting Covid under control.

Turnquest has found a way to keep all government employees on staff and hard at work by borrowing. We only have total debt of $10 billion. I think we can handle up to $20 billion. So no need to open up, load shed or anything else.

If I were Atlantis I would open back up under the emergency orders and hopefully in February in the middle of winter we will have a vacine so they can stay open and Minnis doesn't have to shut them down again.

Ohhh....but how do you do a tourist business with social distancing...how do you open the restuarants, bars, beaches, booze cruises, cruse ships....we are on the right path.

Well done FNM!

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DDK 1 month, 1 week ago

Watch out observer2, are you sure these clowns understand the meaning of "facetious" LOL!

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hj 1 month, 1 week ago

You are so right. Yet even with the big hotels closed there were still power cuts. However BPL management were praised. The next round of applause will be for our politicians who borrow more and more,so they can keep themselves and their civil servants on the payroll. Also congratulations are due to the supreme leader for spending 20 million for sidewalks,and denying to many people to make a living,just because they can not get their act together

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tribanon 1 month, 1 week ago

Many of us on New Providence island did experience lengthy power failures on several occasions this past summer, mainly due to our crumbling above-ground electricity distribution lines that no longer can withstand sustained wind gusts as low as 35 knots in many areas. And as @observer2 points out in his/her post above, there rightfully should have been no load shedding because all of the major hotels have been shut down.

Dumber than dumb Minnis continues to think we are all as dumb and stupid as he is. As for Bannister, he remains as he always will be - totally useless!

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JokeyJack 1 month, 1 week ago

Wonder if our leaders have enough foresight and intelligence to ask to join the Bahamas with CANZUK ? Probably not. We prefer to be poor and suck teeth like our neighbors to the south.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHglo...">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHglo...

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Clamshell 1 month, 1 week ago

Meanwhile, central Eleuthera has been without water for a week, everything shut down — including the health clinics, while Covid cases are spiking there. No story in the Tribune — their staff is too busy giving us the latest details of professional volleyball in Romania and Finland.

Way to go, Tribune! Gotta EARN that D-, eh?

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John 1 month, 1 week ago

Expect to go another six months before the economy even starts to resemble some normalcy. Cab BPL hold out that long? Some landlords have tenants who haven't paid a full month's rent since march. Are they expected to continue to carry the burden of their tenants with the future being so distant and uncertain? Some also are paying for electricity and water on the rented property. It's a "between a rock and a hard place situation." Many businesses will not reopen after this pandemic passes. Some cannot open because all of their working capital has been consumed and their assets do not qualify them for additional borrowing. Couldn't we just take 2020 off the calendar?

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Honestman 1 month, 1 week ago

I hate to say it John but I think you are being way too optimistic in thinking we will be anywhere back to normal in six months.

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John 1 month, 1 week ago

If the world is in the third wave of this pandemic instead of the middle of the second wave, then the covid-19 numbers should soon start falling off, meaning that at least one third of the world’s population has been infected and herd immunity is active.

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birdiestrachan 1 month, 1 week ago

observer 2 pseudonym doc . it is true a true Liar believes their own LIES.

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birdiestrachan 1 month, 1 week ago

Maybe it was a joke OBSERVER 2. I missed the joke Sorry

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Clamshell 1 month, 1 week ago

... uh ... maybe look up the word “irony,” eh?

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lovingbahamas 1 month, 1 week ago

It’s amazing to me that in the year 2020 our prime minister is ecstatic that there is not that much load shedding! Power generation is not rocket science! It has been around for probably a century. And, the BPL brain surgeons are having trouble trying to keep the power operational? Are we really at a tipping point? Probably so. Look at poor Abaco. It took BPL 5 or 6 months to even attempt to bring back power to the island. And a year+ to really begin to reconnect. Really glad those $20 million sidewalks are going in instead of building the infrastructure!

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DDK 1 month, 1 week ago

The entire government and its staff are depraved. If they are not actually idiots, they are just there to suck up as much as they can while doing as little as they can. At this point does anyone see any hope for ANY improvement from some magical quarter?

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tribanon 1 month, 1 week ago

If you're still living in The Bahamas, you're royally screwed. But you'll never be able to say you weren't long ago warned of what was to bound come.

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