By RIEL MAJOR
Tribune Staff Reporter
ELECTRICITY consumers criticised Bahamas Power & Light (BPL) after the company announced an additional charge will be added to their monthly bills.
The Tribune was out on the streets yesterday to ask the public what they felt about the adjustment to their bills via an extra charge.
Sherwaine Arthurs, consumer, said being charged an additional fee is not a good feeling. He said: “We haven’t received any positives from BPL. The service is still not good, when you look at the entire country, we are still having outages in different points and time. We are no longer in the summer months it was cool and yet still we are having power outages.
“I don’t see the point of the change. My thing is if you’re going to add something to my bill, I must be getting something in return and I’m not getting anything in return so it’s pointless.”
One consumer, who asked to be identified as Mr Stubbs, said his light bill is already high and suggested BPL work with the people.
“I feel like BPL need to work with the people. BPL wasn’t working properly from I was small. I went to work and for a whole eight hours the electricity was off. That’s ridiculous, that don’t make no sense and they want to increase the price,” he said.
Rawle Springer said BPL charging more money is infuriating.
Mr Springer said: “It’s infuriating considering the last couple of months things wasn’t on all the time. Now all of sudden they have another charge, it’s a bit frustrating. My light bill doubled last month and that was infuriating. I didn’t understand that because my usage didn’t go up.”
Sydney Sylvester said even with all of the power outages his light bill remains high.
He said: “They need to bring that down, talking about charging people more money. They crazy! BPL need to bring the light bills down, it’s as simple as that. They said the light bill was only high because of certain circumstances. Now that they got this new (engines) ‘why the light bill going up?’ This is robbery.
“How can you go up if people out of light? I’ve paid so much money on my light bill I said something must be wrong. I even went to get my meter read because something had to be wrong for me to be paying that kind of money and the power always off. I have a problem with that.”
Another consumer, who asked to remain anonymous, said BPL has to be kidding.
“These bills are already outrageous in our region for service you can’t even use, with charges that make no sense and you want to pull some wool about a deposit. BPL alone is enough to make anyone hate living here,” she said.
Another person said we are paying for years of mismanagement.
“Wow, so ‘we are to expect higher electricity bills?’ This Bahamas is in a huge mess with no relief in sight,” he said.
Yesterday, electricity consumers were yesterday told to brace for an “adjustment” to their bills via an extra charge as Bahamas Power & Light confirmed plans for its mammoth $650m-plus refinancing.
Dr Donovan Moxey, the state-owned utility’s chairman, promised that the proposed Rate Reduction Bond issue will ultimately result in “better outcomes” for all Bahamian households and businesses even though the “structure” of electricity bills will change.
A BPL statement quoted Dr Moxey as saying the new billing structure would “function as a short-term deposit” that will ultimately enable consumers to enjoy longer term savings from reduced fuel costs and more efficient generation plant.
However, legislation to facilitate the Rate Reduction Bond (RRB) issue makes clear that BPL’s customer base will be relied upon to service what is essentially a doubling of the debt burden associated with the utility to secure its financial future.
Photos: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff