Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) Chairman Dr. Donovan Moxey said yesterday that Leader of the Opposition Philip Brave Davis’ comments about a spike in electricity bills were “irresponsible”.
“It’s completely irresponsible,” Moxey said.
“I’m referring to the petition, to anybody who talks about 70 percent increase. I’m referring to some news press release I saw given by the opposition party. All of those people who do that are irresponsible and they know better or at least they should know better.”
Yesterday, Davis released a statement criticizing the government for “the sharp 70 percent hike in electricity cost.”
Davis called this outrageous.
He said, “Notwithstanding the prime minister’s penchant for insulting the messenger while being derelict in his official duties by dodging questions on important national issues such as the investigation in the BPL board, Prime Minister Minnis must explain the reasons and justification for the sharp 70 percent hike in electricity cost.”
Thousands of people have also signed an online petition protesting what the petition claims to be a 70 percent increase in costs.
But Moxey said no one from BPL, himself included, ever said there was a 70 percent spike in electricity costs.
Moxey said if a journalist is responsible enough to fact check before printing an article, then the opposition leader should also be as responsible.
“If you’re going to put something out, you should at least understand the facts,” he said.
“What you want to do [is] you want to make sure the public has the right and accurate information and if you don’t first check something before you put it out there, then you’re taking a chance with that information not being correct.”
He added: “I believe in numbers and facts and that’s what I deal with, and anybody that plays that game of twisting words to drive sensationalism especially when people are concerned about their energy cost, that’s irresponsible. That’s beyond irresponsible.”
On Monday, Eyewitness News reported that Moxey confirmed some electricity bills had increased by 70 percent.
But he denied this.
“If you’re a reporter and you put that out there, what impression is that going to give somebody? That we raised the rates by 70 percent, right? Is that a responsible thing to do?
“I know everybody wants to sell papers or get eyeballs or whatever it is, but my thing is that you can’t be fast and loose with the facts or taking things out of context.”
He said people are “twisting the facts for their own narrative”.
In the Eyewitness story, Moxey said: “The bills now have jumped significantly. My own personal bill has increased by 60 percent. This past month has been fairly high. It’s probably been the highest it has ever been.
“And I understand that and I recognize that it is because of the fuel that we are using and we are doing our best to shift the load back to Clifton but for the foreseeable future the bills will still be relatively high.”
But while that story has Moxey suggesting that his bill went up due to the load shift from Clifton power station to Blue Hills, which has more expensive fuel, Moxey told The Nassau Guardian that’s not why his bill was higher.
Moxey told The Nassau Guardian that when he said his bill increased by 60 percent, what he meant is that it was as a result of increased usage, given that he was spending more time in town.
Moxey added that individuals whose bills reflect higher usage even though they have not changed their routines should contact BPL.
He also said, “We will look at your bill and if there’s an issue, we will resolve that and I challenge anyone who has had the same usage of electricity from month-to-month who says their bill has gone up 70 percent to show that to me.
“I challenge anyone to do that because it’s not factual, it’s not practical unless there was an inadvertent error in how the bill was printed.”
On Friday, Moxey said the significantly higher fuel charges on consumers’ bills is a result of the increase in global oil prices and the increased usage of the Blue Hills power plant, following fires that impacted two of the Clifton Pier power station’s largest engines in September.
“When we lost those assets at Clifton and we had to shift our load to Blue Hills, we ended up utilizing the more expensive fuel, and right now our fuel mixture is 70 percent automotive diesel oil (ADO), 30 percent heavy fuel oil (HFO),” Moxey said.
He noted that while BPL is working on securing additional assets to compensate for the loss of those engines, that might not happen until next summer.