Breezes makes $20m ‘green’investment, pays 20%more to BEC
A$20 million investment at SuperClubs Breezes to turn the property’green’and reduce energy consumption by 20 percent has been offset by Bahamas Electricity Corporation(BEC) rates that have increased by 20 percent. The resort is now paying approximately$160,000 monthly to the utility.
SuperClubs Breezes Chairman John Issa said the project, which has been ongoing over the last five months, will go a long way in keeping the property’s operation running efficiently. It hasn’t hurt government coffers either, with more than a half a million dollars spent on import stamp duties to bring in everything from new furniture to fixtures and hardware.
“All this was to cut down energy consumption by 20 percent and thanks to BEC the rates have gone up by 20 percent,”he said yesterday.”Had we not done that, we would have spent more… It has to do with the price of oil,[which]has gone up. But what we are doing is not just for what happens next month, but for the long term.
“This whole project, which is coming to a completion is a$20 million investment. The government import stamp duty is half a million dollars alone on this last bit… That was a part of Breezes going green.”
The company recently put in two 750-ton chillers for the resort’s air conditioners, which Issa describes as the latest stackable chillers that allow for water to be running and to be controlled by a business management system. In addition the resort has installed new air handling units for its public rooms to reduce energy consumption, has put energy efficient thermostats in its 400 rooms, reinsulated its water pipes, put in low flush toilets and brought in new furniture from a manufacturer in Jamaica, among other changes.
They were all moves to help cut back on an increasingly high bill, said the hotel executive.
“We cut energy consumption down by 20 percent… Our bill last month was$162,000,”added Issa.”And the rate is going to be higher this month.
“I wish we had competition in the energy business.”
He said he is now looking forward to the time when the government’s renewable energy plan will reflect in a greater way in electricity costs in the country. It would help lower the cost of doing business in The Bahamas.
“And then the room tax went up last month from 2 to 4 percent and that’s off the top,”he added.
While other major properties have had to cut staff during the recession and set workers on staggered shifts, Issa asserts its staff complement has remained the same.
“It’s always been our policy to promote from within,”he said.”We have approximately 350 team members at Breezes Bahamas, half of which have been with us over 10 years and half of that has been with us since we started over 15 years ago.
“I think that is something that has never happened in The Bahamas in its entire history,[with]a hotel of this size with well over 300 team members manned by a 100 percent Bahamian team.”
Issa said there was not one work permit holder at Breezes Bahamas.