Thursday, Jul 18, 2019
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Miller not surprised by developments at BPL

Pointing to the power generation issues that have plagued New Providence in recent months and the recent voluntary separation process, former Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) Chairman Leslie Miller said yesterday he is not surprised that the government is set to appoint a new board at Bahamas Power and Light (BPL).

Miller said it is glaringly obvious that all was not well at the power company.

“It’s regrettable that [BPL] is in such chaos,” Miller said. “I don’t blame the minister for terminating the board as he said. From day one [there were] vital issues.”

When choosing the new boards, he said, the government ought to look at people who have the appropriate professional backgrounds to effectively manage BPL.

“The mix from the beginning was the wrong mix,” Miller said.

Darnell Osborne, Patrick Rollins, Nicola Thompson, Ferron Bethel, Whitney Heastie and Nick Dean made up the board.

In a statement yesterday, Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister said the outgoing board accomplished a number of things during its tenure. However, he added that members of the board bucked heads on multiple critical issues.

“Regrettably, in recent times the former board remained locked at loggerheads with respect to virtually every critical issue,” Bannister said in statement.

“This became costly to BPL. Moreover, as relationships within the board deteriorated, three members offered their resignations. In those circumstances, it was important that the company seek new leadership,” Bannister said in a statement.

Miller said given the nature of the disagreements, he does not blame the government for starting from scratch.

“I think the minister means well. And I think he did what was necessary to try to get a new group now,” he said.

“But please put some people there … who know about BEC, who have seen and walked a power plant, who know something about generation.

“Do it right this time. Give us a break.

“What is ironic, why would you send $70 million to get rid of 300 employees and two weeks later hire new people for those important areas in the corporation?

“Seventy million, that’s a new debt that [will] burden the Bahamian people. The price is going up every month. Your light bill goes up. What is going on?”

More than 300 BPL workers recently accepted voluntary separation packages totaling $70 million.

Miller, who served as executive chairman of BEC from mid-2012 to late 2015, said it’s not an easy task to run the power company. However, he said the outgoing board had enough time to get it right.

BPL is a subsidiary of BEC.

In recent weeks, the company has had to conduct load shedding due to engines tripping offline or being hit by lightning strikes.

A generator on Andros caught fire last week and was destroyed, leaving many on the island in darkness for several hours.

 

Krystel Brown

Online Editor at Nassau Guardian
Krystel covers breaking news for The Nassau Guardian. Krystel also manages The Guardian’s social media pages. She joined The Nassau Guardian in 2007 as a staff reporter, covering national news. She was promoted to online editor in May 2017.
Education: Benedict College, BA in Mass Communications

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