Former Member of Parliament for West Grand Bahama Obie Wilchcombe is calling on the Grand Bahama Power Company (GBPC) to delay imposing a rate hike on Grand Bahama stemming from the losses incurred by the company during Hurricane Dorian.
Wilchcombe was responding to a Tribune article that revealed that GBPC is eyeing October 1 to impose the levy.
Wilchcombe called the company’s willingness to carry on with the increase during a continuing global pandemic an “inhumane, incoherent and a ruthless business proposition”.
“The GB power company must not be permitted to impose any further tax on the people of Grand Bahama,” Wilchcombe said in a statement.
“The people of Grand Bahama are struggling and many must find a ‘hustle’ to meet the exhaustive and astronomical fees that are already being charged by Grand Bahama Power Company. In fact, many have complained that the recent monthly bills have skyrocketed.
“To seek to impose an increase is morally contemptuous and heartless. How did they arrive at a decision to impose an additional tax following Hurricane Dorian? The limping economy has hit rock bottom, the job market plummeted, Bahamian lives were lost and many are today living in adverse conditions as they await assistance to repair their homes.”
Wilchcombe said GBPC should not be allowed to make the argument for a rate increase that could cause an increase in the “level of hurt, pain and frustration” that already exists on Grand Bahama.
“Grand Bahama Power Company has reaped handsomely over the many decades. Whilst I do not question the generally high quality of service provided to the island, I do question the high fees now charged and the shameless effort to increase these further. I am certain that the company and its parent company could wait it out as we plan a path for a better future.”
“Grand Bahama Power Company must not be allowed to add more salt to the open wound.”
GBPC’s parent company, Emera, revealed in its second quarter management discussion and analysis, a double whammy to the Grand Bahama operations caused by COVID-19 and the destruction to the company’s infrastructure by Hurricane Dorian almost one year ago.
According to Emera, those impacts on GBPC, as well as the COVID-19 impact on Barbados Light and Power Company Limited (BLPC), led to a lower earnings contribution from Caribbean utilities in both the first and second quarters.