BPL chairman Donovan Moxey.
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
AMID consumer complaints of rocketing Bahamas Power and Light bills in the aftermath of load shedding and an island wide outage, BPL Chairman Donovan Moxey is urging consumers to look at subtle changes in their behaviour while at home.
“We don’t magically kick up the cost in the summer,” Mr Moxey told The Tribune yesterday. “We are not allowed to. It’s against the law. The problem is no one takes the time to understand the subtleties about how their life changes in the summer.”
This was his response yesterday when told of consumers’ displeasure over increases in billing, while factoring in power cuts since June, coupled with an island wide black out this week.
“I haven’t done anything differently from all my bills and I am comparing them. My bills are usually between $130 and $150; my bill came out for the end of this month and it’s $230 and there was nothing different,” New Providence resident Claude St Claver told The Tribune yesterday.
Two women who preferred not to be identified insisted their bills significantly increased despite having the same behaviours throughout winter and into this summer.
Still, Mr Moxey maintained yesterday that most people don’t realise the little things.
“There are subtle differences in our behaviour when the whether gets warmer that we do in terms of our electricity consumption. We don’t quite notice right away.
“What I can say to anybody is this: the metre that you had three months ago when the winter time is occurring is the same metre you have now. The mechanisms to read that metre three months ago are the same mechanisms now.
“So if they look at their bill, the only thing that changes is the fact that the usage in terms of kilowatt hour usage kicks up. This is what a lot of people don’t take into account.
“It’s the use of electricity that is changing because (of) people’s lifestyle patterns. That’s what’s happening,” he also said.
“We cannot adjust the pricing based on volume usage. We are not allowed to do that. So when you look at your bill or anyone looks at their bills they’ll see that those rates remain the same throughout.”
Mr Moxey said when the price of oil increases that too would increase billing, but this is not the case now.
He gave some examples of what may affect usage in the hot summer months, pointing to the reliance on air conditioning units.
“If they have central air in their house set at auto and it is set to a certain temperature, if the outside temperature is close to the temperature that is set that doesn’t kick in a whole lot.
“One of the things that people look at and they don’t take into account is when that air condition first kicks, in there is a huge amount of amperage electricity that absorbs and then as the temperature gets cooler that kind of goes down after awhile.
“The hotter the weather gets, even if you have the temperature set at the same setting, that particular unit is going to work harder in order to maintain that because the outside temperature is hotter.”
He continued: “Now some people might say ‘well I didn’t adjust the temperature on my air conditioner.’
“That’s fine but your air conditioner is going to run a lot harder and longer and even if your air conditioner runs an additional ten percent a day or 20 percent a day you aren’t going to measure that, but it means you are using 10 or 20 percent more electricity for that unit that’s number one.”
Mr Moxey also said in the summer when children are at home this drives up the cost of electricity.
He urged consumers to utilise various conservation methods, including turning lights off when no one is using them, purchasing timers for water heaters, or using high efficiency appliances that do not drive up usage.
The complaints come as Bahamians are becoming increasing angered by BPL’s generation challenges. On Tuesday there was an island wide black out that Works Minister Desmond Bannister said was the result of a large truck hitting a high voltage pole during the course of illegal dumping.
His explanation however has done little to ease the pain of consumes who have had to endure BPL’s power generation issues this summer.