Minnis assures power bills will decrease

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said yesterday Bahamians can expect their light bills to decrease, but could not say when.

“I’ve been informed that the cost of electricity will go down. I cannot say when,” Minnis said.

“But I know that Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) and the minister responsible [are] working aggressively.

“You see, what’s happening here, I know that we will be moving forward with bringing legislation to ensure that each home has some solarization source to decrease; it would be attached especially to the water heater that would have a dramatic improvement on their electricity bill.

“But we will be working aggressively to decrease the cost of electricity that is cost prohibitive to many businesses, and it’s damaging to many homes.”

The average residential light bill in The Bahamas increased by 45 percent between October 2017 and October 2018, according to data provided by BPL.

BPL officials say the spike in bills was due to higher oil prices leading to an increase in the fuel surcharge.

The fuel surcharge typically makes up the majority of electricity costs for the consumer. BPL passes on the charge directly to the consumer.

The fuel surcharge has steadily increased this year. In the February billing period it was 14.75 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh); in the March cycle it was 14.9 cents per kWh; in April, the surcharge rose to 15.68 cents per kWh; in May, it jumped to 17.46 per kWh; in June, it was 17.38 cents per kWh; in July, the surcharge per kWh was 19.46 cents; and in the August and September billing periods it was 19.15 cents per kWh.

Several weeks ago, BPL Chairman Dr. Donovan Moxey said consumers might not get any relief for months as the electricity company continues to grapple with generation issues stemming from a fire that impacted two of the Clifton Pier power station’s largest engines in September.

In January, Minnis said his administration will partner with various stakeholders and professionals to “embark upon an ambitious plan to significantly increase the use of solar energy in The Bahamas” before the end of its term.

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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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