The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA) noted in a press statement yesterday that it will ensure transparency with regard to Grand Bahama Power Company’s (GBPC) storm recovery and stabilization (SRS) charge that will be tacked on to customers’ bills.
The GBPA noted in the statement that mechanisms exist to ensure that Grand Bahama’s power company is forthcoming with information on its collections.
“As the utilities’ regulatory authority in the city of Freeport, GBPA implemented a regulatory framework and operating protocol in accordance with international best practices,” the statement noted.
“The framework establishes prudent regulatory oversight of GBPC’s operations, standards of service and rate-setting protocols.”
Former minister for Grand Bahama, now a senator, Dr. Michael Darville, criticized the Grand Bahama Power Company (GBPC) last week for adding the $7 to the $24 charge to its customers’ electricity bills beginning on April 1. The company is attempting to recoup $15 million in restoration costs associated with Hurricane Dorian.
General Counsel at Port Group Limited Karla McIntosh said in the statement that the framework to monitor the GBPC has been around since 2013.
“Amongst other obligations, the framework also requires GBPC to have its accounts audited by professional auditors licensed to practice in The Bahamas at the end of its financial year and submit the results of such audit to GBPA,” McIntosh said.
“This recently-implemented SRS charge will be no different. GBPA has also mandated that GBPC provide quarterly reports, which will be published on our website, advising the total funds collected. This provides an objective and transparent process for the recovery of funds by GBPC and it also establishes a regime of efficiency designed to secure greater levels of customer protection.”
According to the GBPA statement, the regulatory framework can be viewed by the public on its website, which also outlines a process for customers to deal with issues related to the power company.
“Ms. Mcintosh advises that the framework holds GBPC to a standard of service for key customer service deliverables and includes compensation for customers when these standards have not been met,” the statement pointed out.
“She advises that residents can submit an issue, which has gone through GBPC’s resolution process and remains unresolved, to PR@gbpa.com and be guaranteed a response within three business days.”