BEC bills to drop by Sept.
Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) Executive Chairman Leslie Miller revealed yesterday that residential and commercial consumers will begin to see a decrease in their electricity bills by September.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Perry Christie announced in the House of Assembly that BEC will be exempt from paying excise tax on fuel imports — a move that is projected to result in a 6.6 percent drop in electricity costs.
“We are indeed happy that the prime minister and the Cabinet of The Bahamas have given the Bahamian people what we call an appreciable break in the cost of electricity,” Miller said.
“The government has taken off the 10 percent duty that we are supposed to pay and that is the only figure that goes directly on the consumer bill.
“So by eliminating that tariff, that saves the consumer 6.6 percent and we’re going to get some other benefits from BEC by cutting back and trying to get it up to 10 percent.
“Now that’s going to take effect by July 1. However, you probably won’t see it on your bill before August or probably September.
“The reason being we normally pay for fuel six weeks or two months in advance. So that means that the last set of fuel that we would have paid for would still be on your bill.
“After that period, you would see that [6.6] reduction in your monthly bill.”
Miller said if BEC were to pay excise tax that would have amounted to around $35 million.
“So that’s a big break,” he acknowledged.
Christie described the move as a “most important change”.
“In this regard, I would stress that we are undertaking a critical examination of all energy proposals that we have received, such as that in respect of waste energy, such that we can move forward expeditiously with measures to reduce energy costs in his country,” said Christie in his budget communication.
While BEC will be exempt from the payment of excise tax, it will now be subject to business license tax.
Miller told The Guardian earlier this month that BEC was also hoping to come to an agreement with the government to be exempt from the payment of business licence tax as well.
Miller said yesterday that the government has given BEC an option of whether to pay a flat rate or the business license tax.
“We’ve been given options to pay a flat fee of $15 million or pay a fee or the business licence tax,” he said.
“We are trying to see which one is greater. Obviously, BEC would prefer the smaller portion, whatever that is. We are working that out now.”
Christie said in addition to BEC, government corporations such as Nassau Airport Development and the Bridge Authority will also now be subject to pay business license tax as a means of enforcing greater discipline on resource usage within these entities.