Over 500 benefit from BPL deferment plan

Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) Director of Public Relations Quincy Parker said yesterday that 562 people have been approved for a three-month bill deferment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said nearly half of those individuals — 267 people — worked in the hospitality industry.

Parker said 807 people applied for the program.

“Those who were unsuccessful were unsuccessful because they didn’t provide sufficient or required information,” he told The Nassau Guardian.

“A much smaller number applied for accounts not in their names.”

Thousands of people across The Bahamas were laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic, which started in mid-March. Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes said last week that 55,000 Bahamians applied for unemployment benefits.

Some restaurants, hotels and other businesses have permanently terminated staff amid an economic stagnation fueled by the pandemic.

The economic challenges and its impact on residents and citizens alike led some companies to implement leniency programs to assist those impacted by the pandemic.

On April 1, BPL CEO Whitney Heastie said people who have been quarantined due to the virus and people who have been laid off would qualify for the power company’s deferral program.

He said those individuals would have to bring in documents proving their qualification for the deferral.

“We realize that these are certainly unprecedented times and there are challenges to our customers and so we are trying to do our part,” he told The Guardian.

“But, we do ask those customers who can pay to go ahead and make payments even though there are deferred payment options available.”

The program ends in June.

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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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