After clarifying reports that the Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) Company will not terminate employees but rather offer voluntary separation packages (VSEP) at the appropriate time, General Manager Whitney Haestie revealed that a new business plan for the company is currently being finalized.
Company executives came under fire by unions that represent employees following a press conference Thursday, where BPL Deputy Chairman Patrick Rollins disclosed that “right-sizing” of the company would have to take effect as the power company plans to construct a liquified natural gas (LNG) power plant.
Unions representing BPL workers at the line and managerial level said they were under the impression that ‘right-sizing’ meant terminations, as company officials did not say out-right that they meant voluntary separation packages.
According to Haestie, the figure – 233 workers – that would have to be disengaged, was taken from the old business plan that Power Secure had presented to government and was tabled in Parliament.
Government has since severed ties with Power Secure claiming that the company, contracted to manage operations, was “no good” for The Bahamas.
“The unions look at what Power Secure stated and ran with it,” Haestie said.
“That is not the plan of the new board. We have not arrived at any figure as yet because we are not at that point. It is unfortunate that they only took in part of what we said. Our focus right now is right-sizing.”
He admitted, however, that while the government is in no way connected to Power Secure, the new board will adapt some of its ideas. He was quick to point out that unlike Power Secure, rate hikes are not being considered at this time.
“We plan to use renewables throughout the islands because that speaks to the new energy policy that we want to embark on,” he said.
Haestie was also asked why the company decided to use portions of a plan from a company that the government felt was not in the best interest of Bahamians.
“I want to be very clear, we are not using their plan. On this executive team everyone has something good that they are putting forward so, where there are commonalities, we can work with that,” he said.
“We don’t have to spend money on something that has already been done. We are taking in the elements that we agree on to ensure that we get the best value on what is being spent.”