Business

GBPC electricity price hike approved

Grand Bahamians should expect to pay more for electricity this April after the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) approved the base rate increase application filed by the Grand Bahama Power Company (GBPC), albeit at a lower rate than the initial filing.

The decision comes after months of review and public consultation with customers and stakeholders.

Citing a need for more revenue, the GBPC in September applied for a base rate increase of 6.3 percent.

“The GBPA Regulatory Committee reviewed the application, taking into consideration the concerns expressed by residents and stakeholders during the consultation process and has actively adjusted the original filing following intensive discussions with GBPC. GBPA worked diligently with its utility expert consultant, and GBPC, which resulted in a revision of the original application. We are pleased to say the final filing has resulted in notably decreased numbers with a reduction to 53 percent of the original filing,” the GBPA noted in a statement issued yesterday.

“On January 14, GBPA communicated its approval to GBPC of the revised application and reduced base rate increase to 3.3 percent. Furthermore, the implementation of any increase has been deferred to April 1, 2022, to ease the rollout impact for customers.”

The power company has said that the rate increase was necessary given its challenges in the aftermath of Hurricanes Matthew and Dorian, the need to cover hurricane insurance expenses and amortization of regulatory assets deferred due to those hurricanes.

The added revenue is also expected to contribute toward infrastructure projects the power company has planned for the next five years, including a commitment to get 15 percent of its generation from renewable sources by 2026 and a proposal to invest over $80 million in capital improvements, which include a five-megawatt solar plant and battery storage, as well as other improvements in generation and transmission and distribution.

“The GBPA Regulatory Committee also advised that they will be working with GBPC to utilize feedback from its consultation process to ensure continuous improvement in customer service metrics that will further protect the interests of customers and hold the utility to additional stringent levels of accountability. These metrics will be published on the regulatory website and reports quarterly,” the GBPA stated.

“GBPA takes seriously its regulatory obligation to act in the best interest of customers while understanding the need to balance having a healthy utility able to provide reliable, cost-effective and efficient power to meet the island’s needs and future growth.”

GBPC has not had a rate increase since 2015.

While there has been public outcry about the rate hike, during an economic slump on the island, GBPC has maintained that the rate increase was based on a cost analysis model needed to maintain the company’s operations.

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Paige McCartney

Paige joined The Nassau Guardian in 2010 as a television news reporter and anchor. She has covered countless political and social events that have impacted the lives of Bahamians and changed the trajectory of The Bahamas. Paige started working as a business reporter in August 2016. Education: Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006 with a BA in Radio and Television News

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