Wednesday, Jan 29, 2020
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Electrical union head concerned about solar push

The Bahamas Electrical Workers Union (BEWU) is concerned by the competition of solar energy in The Bahamas, union president Paul Maynard said yesterday.

“You know in the speech the prime minister gave, he’s encouraging people to go solar,” Maynard said.

“As I said that’s our competition. Once he, once the prime minister, is going along that mindset then you know we have to be concerned. I have to be concerned as the union president for the future of the company that I work for. I have to be very concerned because you know if the company shuts down there’s no need for me or [any] of my members.”

Last year, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said his government will fully utilize renewable energy, particularly solar energy, to achieve a reduction in power costs, which have burdened Bahamians for years.

He said The Bahamas is “ideal for solar energy”.

“Our transformation to renewable energy is both a moral and an economic imperative,” Minnis said.

“It is an imperative that will truly help to advance our economy and to help us to achieve world status in the use of renewable energy.”

Maynard told The Nassau Guardian that the BEWU views solar energy as its competition because “once [customers] make the initial investment, the rest is free”.

“You know our reliable customer base, the customer base that pays the light bills on time and all of it…is Lyford Cay, Albany, Old Fort Bay, Paradise Island, etc.,” he said.

“They are using more and more of the solar option so we need to be up to speed.”

While he said a lot of his customers were unable to afford to go solar, Maynard insisted “as it becomes cheaper, you have to be mindful of what’s going on”.

Maynard said union members need to become more conscious of service moving forward.

“…I’ve started talking to a lot of them and saying, ‘You know, listen, we have to do things better than we were doing it,’” he said.

“We have to be more concerned about the public than we have been doing and as soon as the power [is] off everyone has to be concerned about it in order to get it on.”

He added: “Service [has] to be our key in this year and moving forward. Service [is] going to have to be our key or we [are] going to lose out to the sun.”

Last month, Housing Minister Romauld Ferreira said the government will offer loans to assist with installing solar appliances.

“The Ministry of Environment and Housing wants to embark on, particularly we are very interested in, assisting with solar water heaters,” Ferreira said.

“In other words, assisting to see if we can make the financing available as a part of the mortgage in association with the Bahamas Mortgage Corporation for individuals to do just that.”

Jasper Ward

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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