There is no certainty that Bahamas Power and Light’s (BPL) rate reduction bond will progress as planned as newly appointed Minister of Works and Utilities Alfred Sears said he would have to examine whatever agreements have been made and be guided by Cabinet as to what is the best solution for the Bahamian people.
BPL was still awaiting parliamentary approval of amended legislation that would facilitate the rate reduction bond when former Prime Minister Hubert Minnis dissolved Parliament.
The utility company had hoped to place the bond to raise more than half a billion dollars before the end of the year.
“As the new minister coming in, I will have to inform myself and examine the agreements, the commitments that have been made, and in the interest of the Bahamian people satisfy myself, report to the Cabinet and be guided by the Cabinet,” Sear told reporters following his swearing in as the new minister earlier this week.
Prior to winning last week’s general election, the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) in its Blueprint for Change, pledged to make massive investments in infrastructure and energy.
The PLP also pledged to, within the first 100 days, cause a review of “BPL operations to reduce cost of electricity, maintain a reliable supply, and enter into contractual arrangements which would put BPL on a solid financial footing, and most importantly, reduce the costs of living and doing business in The Bahamas”.
Sears said he will spearhead the PLP’s promises to also ensure reliable sources of affordable, sustainable energy, and move to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels, as well as recommit The Bahamas to a minimum reliance on renewable energy of 30 percent by 2030.
“We will immediately begin, first after we’ve done the review and gotten a proper turn over, we need to formulate the process to meet those deliverables in the time frame …,” he said.
“Maintaining the status quo is not acceptable.
“This has to be an agenda of transformation and that is why in the Blueprint for Change, it talks about reform, restoration, rebirth but also revolution.
“So, there is a clear recognition that there has to be a fundamental shift and with respect to the energy sector. We are committed to moving away from the 100 percent reliance on bunker fuel to renewable [energy]. So that is a policy objective of the government.”
The PLP has also promised to, among other things, implement reverse-metering to reduce BPL consumption and incentivize solar energy via tax incentives; engage with all stakeholders to establish a comprehensive business plan for BPL; transition to LNG or some other form of efficient, cleaner fuel; and provide 100 percent financing for residential renewable energy systems.