5,400-plus people without power

 

Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister.

Delinquent customers owe BPL $5.3 million

 

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – There are 5,412 delinquent Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) customers who remain off the grid, according to Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister, who revealed that these account holders owe the power provider a combined $5.39 million.

Leading debate in the House of Assembly on the Value-Added Tax (Amendment) (No.2) Bill, which seeks to increase the VAT exemption ceiling on electricity bills from $200 or less to $300 or less, Bannister detailed delinquent customers and their arrears island by island.

“What do you do about persons in that situation?” Bannister asked.

“The utility [company], as you see, can’t afford it and they keep on racking up more and more receivables, and then you know that the people are hurting, and they need to be able to get back on the grid to have power nowadays.”

The majority of delinquent customers — 4,639 of them — reside on New Providence and owe BPL $4.27 million.

Central Andros had the second largest number of delinquent account holders with 116.

Those customers owe BPL more than $153,000.

A comparison of the total arrears of each island show that Inagua, Bimini, North Andros and Eleuthera are also among the top debtors.

In Inagua, 52 delinquent customers owe over $300,000.

Over on Bimini, 85 disconnected customers owe more than $136,000.

There were 132 customers off the grid in North Andros for non-payment.

They owed BPL more than $128,000.

More than $113,000 was owed by 88 delinquent account holders in Eleuthera.

Additionally, 77 disconnected customers in South Andros owed BPL over $80,000.

Another 58 delinquent customers in Abaco owed the power provider more than $64,000.

An additional seven islands listed had a combined 166 delinquent customers, who owed BPL approximately $130,000.

These included Acklins, Cat Island, San Salvador, Crooked Island, Mangrove Cay, Great Harbour Cay, and Exuma.

Exuma had the least arrears with 14 disconnected customers owing just over $8,000.

A BPL credit and collection’s report ending October 31, 2018, showed that 107,702 BPL customers had arrears totaling $48.41 million.

Of that, more than $16 million was over 90 days past due.

This week, former Bahamas Electricity Corporation Executive Chairman Leslie Miller called on BPL’s management to be lenient with disconnected customers and those who building arrears, insisting the nation is facing a tough economic climate.