GBPC reveals how proposed rate adjustments would impact customers

Grand Bahama Power Company (GBPC) has provided more details on its filed rate application and how its proposed rate adjustments would impact its customers.

Noting that the average all-in rate increase for all of its customers is projected to be four percent, GBPC said some of its customers would see a drop in rates, others would see no change in rates and other groups would see proposed increases of various amounts depending on usage.

GBPC is proposing a 3.2 percent decrease in base rates for residential customers that consume fewer than 200 kilowatt hours (kWh) per month. The power company stated that would impact about 18 percent of its customers.

“For residential customers consuming 201-350 kWh per month, there is no change in base rates proposed. This segment represents about 24 percent of residential customers. Residential customers consuming between 351 to 800 kWh per month, representing about 32 percent of customers, will see a base increase ranging from one percent to 7.5 percent,” the power company stated.

“Customers consuming more than 800 kWh per month will experience a base increase of 7.5 percent to 8.9 percent, representing 26 percent of residential customers. For our other customer classes, general service large customers will experience increases of 3.5 percent to four percent, and commercial customers will see an across-the-board increase of 4.4 percent.”

GBPC applied to the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) on September 23 for a tariff application. The power company noted it hasn’t filed a rate application since 2015 and given its challenges in the aftermath of Hurricanes Matthew and Dorian, a rate adjustment is necessary.

“We have been able to stabilize rates to customers through prudent operations management and a strategic fuel hedging program that has kept fuel costs stable at 10 cents since 2015 and will continue to keep fuel costs consistent through 2022,” the company stated.

“Our filing also included a generation plan that looks at the energy demand forecast and compares it against our current generation availability. The plan shows that, with a notable drop in load over the past five years, there is no need for significant generation investments.

“However, our plan takes a long-term view of generation and related fuel costs to customers and we know that incorporating renewable energy thoughtfully and responsibly will lead to lower costs to customers. As such, we are proposing to make investments in small, utility-scale solar plants, that is, providing the cost of solar would be less than or equal to the cost of fuel. These proposed projects would be individually approved by GBPA and would depend on the savings in fuel being equal or exceeding the required return on investment, thereby benefiting customers.”

GBPC continued, “Our plan also proposes to look for independent power producers to provide the same affordable solar power to our grid. This would open a new sector for Bahamian investors and investments in solar would see about 15 percent of our generation from renewable sources by 2026, translating to cost savings for customers and a notable reduction in our carbon footprint.”

GBPA is required to provide a decision to the power company’s application by December 1.

Minister for Grand Bahama Ginger Moxey has said the Davis administration is against an increase in electricity costs for Grand Bahamians at this time, when many are facing difficulties following Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic.

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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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