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Govt would not support electricity rate hike in GB

The government opposes the proposed Grand Bahama Power Company’s (GBPC) rate adjustment given the vulnerability of residents who have yet to recover from Hurricane Dorian two years ago, Minister of Works and Utilities Alfred Sears said yesterday.

“The government has also a responsibility to implement and to revise from time to time an energy policy,” Sears said during a visit to Grand Bahama.

“That energy policy comprises, at any time, certain considerations; under the Electricity Act, it defines those factors — one of which is to protect vulnerable sectors of the Bahamian population at any time and that is always a factor.

“In Grand Bahama, as the minister [of Grand Bahama] has stated, the vulnerability of the residents has been occasioned by, first of all in September 1st, 2nd and 3rd of 2019, Hurricane Dorian, which has devastated the lives of the residents of this community, especially in East Grand Bahama and, of course, persons as they sought to recover were again impacted by a global pandemic.”

He said the government does not believe this is the right time to increase the rate.

Sears said the concerns have been communicated to the company.

On Tuesday, GBPC announced that it had filed a rate application with its regulator, the Grand Bahama Port Authority.

It said the filing addresses an adjustment in base rates and a generation plan.

“Our proposed rate adjustment impacts different customers in different ways,” GBPC said.

“For our residential customers, some segments would see a drop in rates, while others would see no change from today’s rates, and others would see proposed increases of various amounts depending on usage.”

The company said there is a proposed 3.2 percent decrease in base rates for residential customers who consume up to 200kWh per month.

GPC said there would be no change in rates for residential customers who consume 201 to 350kWH per month.

It said there is a proposed one to 7.5 percent increase for residential customers who consume between 351 and 800kWh per month.

“Customers consuming more than 800kWh per month will experience a base increase of 7.5 percent to 8.9 percent, representing 26 percent of residential customers,” the power company said.

“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 increase.

“Overall, the average all-in rate increase for all customers is projected to be four percent, as compared to inflation rates in The Bahamas of 8.4 percent over the past several years.”

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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