Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) has announced it will reintroduce budget billing, which averages a customer’s monthly bill based on past usage as opposed to actual usage based on monthly meter reading.
This budget billing, which according to Acting Financial Secretary Marlon Johnson will be completely optional, is a method of averaging the bills a customer pays over a fixed period of time.
“Bahamians are used to spikes in their bills in the summer and dips in the winter: budget billing will take the total amount to be paid to BPL over a 12-month period and average that cost so the customer is paying the same amount each month,” BPL said in a press release yesterday.
“Budget billing with BPL will provide predictable bills to our customers. We’re taking the guesswork out of the monthly bill payment.”
The power company is also changing its billing date to the 20th of each month as opposed to the end of the month.
“This is significant because past practice saw the last round of customer bills sent out on the 29th of each month. This meant that many customers got their BPL bill after payday, which meant that those customers always found themselves outside of the 21-day payment period,” BPL said.
“Our new billing cycle ensures this is a thing of the past, and prepares the way for BPL to reintroduce budget billing.”
BPL announced last month that it successfully completed its first hedging transaction which locks consumers into paying a fuel surcharge of 10.5 cents for the next 18 months beginning this month.
BPL has said the hedging exercise would translate to 30 percent savings to customers.
Fuel costs volatility over the past five years has seen rates for Bahamian consumers as high as 27 c/kwh to as low as nine c/kwh.
BPL CEO Whitney Heastie has said this hedge action will bring stability and predictability to fuel costs in a manner never seen before in The Bahamas.