BPL to increase fuel charge, CEO says

Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) CEO Shevonn Cambridge predicted that the company will increase its fuel charge in “the next month or two”.

“The process or the procedure for adjusting it is prescribed in the fuel charge [regulation]…” Cambridge told The Nassau Guardian.

“So, I foresee within the month or two that that adjustment will have to be made.”

In February, BPL issued a 

statement announcing that customers’ fuel charges will increase from 10.5 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) to 13.7 cents per kWh.

It said customers whose average monthly consumption is 250 kWh will see a rise of about $8 in their monthly light bill and customers whose consumption is 600 kWh will see an increase of about $19 per month.

The statement was later recalled and Prime Minister Philip Davis promised that his administration would address the issue.

“Lord knows that our people could least afford to have more taxes or more costs visited upon their backs,” said Davis, who was out of the country at the time.

“My government will do all in its power to see how we can avert raising the cost of electricity on our people.

“As soon as I am back to The Bahamas, we will be sitting down to brainstorm to see how we can best do that.”

When asked if the new fuel charge will align with what was announced by BPL earlier this year, Cambridge said, “That was what the numbers looked like back then. I don’t think there has been much movement in the market globally, so I think whatever you see will be around that region or range.

“There hasn’t been any major changes since then that would lead me to say it should go down or it should go up,” he said.

“Like I said, we haven’t done the full calculation or I’m not aware of the full calculation to say that it will be that same amount.”

While pointing to the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (Amendment) Regulations, 2020, he said an adjustment will be made by August to ensure that BPL remains compliant with the law.

The regulations state that a fuel adjustment charge may be held constant for a period of up to 12 months to provide price stability to the consumer and that an over or under recovery account must be created to monitor the movement in this account.

It adds that a reconciliation adjustment will be made to the fuel adjustment charge either at the end of the period to remediate any necessary adjustments to the billing or fuel costs.

Last July, BPL said its fuel charge will remain at 10.5 cents per kWh until June 2022.

At the time, BPL said that fuel charge was secured in July 2020, when the corporation executed its first-ever fuel hedge transaction.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) assisted The Bahamas in the brokering of its fuel hedging transactions, designed to ease the strain on the government’s budget and allow fiscal headroom during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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Jasper Ward

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

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