Delinquent Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) customers who have been disconnected for non-payment can be put back on the grid on Monday as the power company’s latest reconnection program takes effect.
BPL CEO Whitney Heastie confirmed the reconnection program announced by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis just over a week ago will begin July 1.
Responding to questions surrounding the number of customers who are expected to take advantage of the
exercise, Heastie said, “July 1 is the start date, and we are still early, so we don’t have numbers that we can share at this time.”
Minnis said given the long summer ahead, BPL agreed to the reconnection program that will require a 25 percent deposit to get on a repayment plan, as opposed to the 50 percent they are required to pay now.
The new plan will extend the payment period to 11 months, as opposed to the current six-month period.
BPL now has approximately 3,000 customers disconnected for non-payment.
To be reconnected, a customer must pay 25 percent of their outstanding balance.
Customers must “maintain monthly payments of current bills plus 10 percent of arrears, which should allow full repayment in 11 months”.
BPL has had ongoing reconnection exercises in some form since 2008.
Thousands of customers ultimately end up not being able to meet the agreements.
That hasn’t stopped successive administrations from continuing the programs under former Prime Minister Perry Christie and former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham.
The Minnis administration also recently announced that BPL bills under $200 per month will be VAT exempt as of July 1.
However, that also means that bills in excess of $200 per month will see a VAT increase on those bills commensurate with the government’s plan to increase the tax from 7.5 percent to 12 percent as of July 1.