Opposition Leader Michael Pintard said yesterday the Davis administration must come clean and explain what he called a “double increase in electricity costs” in the current strained economic climate.
He was referring to recent comments by Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) Chief Executive Officer Shevonn Cambridge that the power company will increase its fuel surcharge within “the next month or two” and that it will revisit the current tariff rates to meet the power company’s operational demands.
Pintard said the foreshadowed changes in the fuel surcharge and tariff rate demonstrate a failure of the Davis administration to continue to execute the energy cost reduction plans and strategies that were put in place by the previous Free National Movement (FNM) administration.
“As all Bahamian consumers know, over the past two years the country has enjoyed one of the lowest and stable costs for electricity, due to the fuel hedging program that the former FNM administration put in place. This fuel hedging program saved Bahamian consumers more than $60 million, and allowed Bahamian businesses and residents to keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets,” Pintard said in a statement released yesterday.
“What is the Davis administration doing to keep the fuel pass-through low and stable? To date they have not confirmed if they have continued the fuel hedging program by executing the rolling quarterly hedges that were put in place, or found a replacement mechanism that provided the same or better results.
“The Davis administration in its Blueprint for Change promised that within its first 100 days it will reduce costs for electricity and enter new contractual arrangements that would put BPL on a solid financial footing; however, it has now been more than 200 days since PM Davis has taken office, and he has done the opposite, electricity costs are going up, with increases in both the fuel charge as well as the electricity tariffs that have been stable for more than ten years now.”
Asked by reporters yesterday if the government will allow an increase in electricity bills, Prime Minister Philip Davis said, “If our efforts to remove the other pressures that feed the increasing cost of fuel, if those are released, as we expect them to, there may not be a need for us to consider raising any further bills on the backs of Bahamians.”