NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) executives have confirmed that oil prices on the world market appear to be trending down, but quickly noted that Bahamian consumers will not see a decrease in their electricity bills until the first quarter of 2019.
The revelation came during a press conference at BPL’s headquarters on Friday afternoon.
“We’ll see them trending downward, but you won’t see the effect of a price reduction in December. You’ll see that decline some 45 to 60 days from December,” said BPL’s Chairman Dr. Donavon Moxey explained.
A one to two-month delay means that consumer bills won’t experience a decline until somewhere around early February or late March of next year.
“We typically buy the oil that we utilize 45 to 60 days in advance. So, whenever you see oil tending down, because we have to utilize the inventory that we have already purchased, there’s typically a 45 to 60-day lag before the customer sees that translated onto their bills,” he noted.
“Traditionally that cost, whether it’s an increase or decrease, has usually been passed along to the customer. So, those decreases will eventually be passed on to our customers.”
Dr. Moxey explained that BPL usually purchases its oil supply in bulk and with enough lead time to prevent the power company from running out of oil.
“Having, ‘just in time,’ oil for our electricity production is not tenable. Because, if our supplies get cut off, we need to keep an inventory,” Dr. Moxey explained.
“So, we typically keep that 45 to 60-day inventory just in case something happens; given the fact that we are in a hurricane zone and ships may not be able to come in. So, because we pre-purchase that oil 45-60 days in advance those costs then get passed through the system.”
While electricity bills will not see a dip until next year, BPL recently launched a Christmas promotion which encourages clients to pay 25 percent on accounts which are over 60 days in arrears to avoid disconnection.
Those payments must be made by December 21.
BPL has also extended the same courtesy to accounts which have already been disconnected.
These consumers are asked to pay 25 percent on the existing bill by December 19to be reconnected.
The company said the new promotion is an effort to make the holidays a little merrier for consumers who are having a hard time meeting their monthly utility bills.