Parties united in concern over Grand Bahama power rates

Grand Bahama Power Company headquarters.

Grand Bahama Power Company headquarters.


Tribune Senior Reporter


FREE National Movement leader Michael Pintard says an increase in electricity rates on Grand Bahama is inconsiderate and worrisome and would only hamper efforts to strengthen the island’s economy.

Grand Bahama Power Company executives have said the average residential customer on Grand Bahama will see a $3.50 increase in their monthly electricity bills after a small percent base rate adjustment was approved.

The company said the rate adjustment was needed to make investments in small, utility-scale solar plants and other key infrastructure. The increase takes effect in April.

Yesterday, Mr Pintard said: “I believe that the experience I am having as a member of Parliament, other members of Parliament are having the same experience on the island, being bombarded by constituents, those that own businesses or those that own homes or even apartments who believe that this is very inconsiderate and worrisome that the Grand Bahama Port Authority would approve the rate increase requested by the Grand Bahama Power Company.

“While we are concerned about the viability of the power company, the reality is that we have far greater concerns for residents who are already struggling. They’re now paying ten percent on breadbasket items, medication, have to pay VAT on construction services ahead of a hurricane season where they are seeking to rebuild and they’re coming at this particular issue from the standpoint that we’ve come through Dorian, we’re in the midst of a pandemic, where are we going to get the additional resources in order to keep our lights on, to ensure that our children can in fact plug in their devices to engage in virtual learning.

“And so we are very much concerned. We heard the discussion about residents having been consulted, well first of all, the majority of Grand Bahamians were not consulted despite the best efforts of the Grand Bahama Port Authority, the power company and secondarily, of those who were in fact consulted, the vast majority of them do not agree with this decision. And so again, this is a blow to the recovery efforts we believe in Grand Bahama. The cost of power is the single largest impediment identified by entrepreneurs against the further development of these businesses.”

On Tuesday, Grand Bahama Minister Ginger Moxey said from the outset the government did not support a rate increase in Grand Bahama.

She said the government continues to call for compassionate leadership.

Mr Pintard said: “We want the government to give a candid and frank explanation as to what their private discussions were with the Grand Bahama Power Company as well as the Grand Bahama Port Authority and what gave those two entities comfort that the extension which was provided…because again this was something that before was approved, however, an extension was given so what gave them comfort that in this period it was okay now to make this decision? And we’re very much interested in those discussions.”


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