Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister said yesterday that Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) is owed nearly $50 million by customers who have not paid their bills so far for the year.
Bannister said commercial customers are responsible for the majority of the sum.
“[There] were 2,179 commercial customers that amount right now to some $32,416,362.67,” he said in the House of Assembly.
“That’s 2,179 commercial customers. Now, these are not the Joe Blow residential customers. These are the commercial customers who have not paid any of their bills for the year.
“Residential customers, there is some 9,220. And that total debt right now is $16,837,879.15.
“…They are persons who essentially have not paid BPL one cent for the entire year.
“Now, when BPL is faced with that type of situation, where you have so many commercial customers and you have a total of some $49.5 million outstanding, the company has to, and is under tremendous pressure, to be able to collect some of that.
“And I think all of us understand that it must be reasonable for them to seek to collect some of it.”
Bannister’s comments came days after BPL officials revealed that 16,000 customers are slated for disconnection, having been at least three months in arrears and owing more than $500 prior to April 2020.
Bannister yesterday encouraged customers who owe BPL money to come in and speak with the company to determine a way forward.
In April, BPL suspended disconnections for “so long as the government says” and also rolled out a three-month bill deferment program for people who were laid off or in quarantine because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, that suspension expired in June. BPL announced earlier this month its intention to resume disconnections immediately for residential customers.