BPL smart meter system testing by July
Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) is expected to begin alpha testing on a smart meter system by July 2019.
The advance metering infrastructure (AMI) is designed to allow customers to track and budget how much energy they consume.
“The transformation that began with the creation of BPL as a separate entity from its predecessor, the Bahamas Electricity Corporation, continues as the company pushes to roll out a number of initiatives in 2019, including e-recruitment, an improved performance management system, improved safety measures and, importantly, a centralized contact center,” the company said in a statement.
“BPL is especially excited about the implementation of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), an architecture for automated, two-way communication between a smart utility meter with an IP address and a utility company.
“AMI will provide customers and BPL with real-time data about power consumption and allow customers to make informed choices about energy usage based on the price at the time of use.
“BPL expects to begin alpha testing of AMI by July 2019.”
Since customers have seen huge spikes in their electricity bills recently, BPL executives have warned its customers to manage their consumption.
With this technology, which the Grand Bahama Power Company states it will have in all of its customers’ houses by 2020, power company customers will be able to prepay for their usage and manage it.
The average residential light bill in The Bahamas increased by 45 percent between October 2017 and October 2018, according to data provided by BPL.
The data shows that the average BPL bill in October 2017 was $110.50 compared to the average of $160.96 in October 2018.
BPL has 93,424 residential customers in the country.
According to the data, in October 2018, 51,770 BPL bills were between $5 and $200; 11,331 BPL customers had bills between $201 and $300; 9,157 had bills between $301 and $400; 5,665 had bills between $401 and $500; 3,487 had bills between $501 and $600; 2,112 had bills between $601 and $700; 1,410 had bills between $701 and $800; and 2,693 had bills between $801 and $1,500.
BPL officials say the spike in bills is due to higher oil prices leading to an increase in the fuel surcharge.
The fuel surcharge typically makes up the majority of electricity costs for the consumer. BPL passes on the charge directly to the consumer.
Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications