NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce president Greg Laroda noted that many are critical of the timing of the Grand Bahama Power Company’s (GBPC) storm recovery charge.
Laroda noted the economy of Grand Bahama still reeling from the shock of Hurricane Dorian and now the COVID-19 pandemic.
The charge was initially set to be be added to all light bills from April 1, 2020, to recover the cost of repairing transmission and distribution network which had been damaged by Hurricane Dorian.
It is now set to be introduced on October 1, and will reportedly result in: an additional 1.3 cents per kilowatt per hour (kWh) for residential consumers; an additional 0.8 of a cent per kWh for commercial consumers; and an additional one cent per kWh for GSL (industrial) consumers, according to the power provider.
For the average residential customer, it will reportedly represent a less than $7 charge on their bills and for the average business customer, $24.
Laroda said: “October is when a lot of businesses are really just going to be getting back up and running. I understand what is happening from the business standpoint but the timing it is what is in question. Could it be delayed further is what is being asked because businesses still need more time time to recover.
“Not matter when you do it the timing is not going to be favorable given the economy of Grand Bahama. The timing just isn’t right, that’s what most people are saying. I don’t think a whole lot of people are saying you shouldn’t be charging.”
Laroda said: “We all praised he power company over how fast they sprang into action after Dorian and got us back up and running. I don’t I don’t think we are being insensitive to that but we are saying that based on the timing, can it be delayed again another few months until we recover.”
Pastor Eddie Victor, a long time critic of the GBPC and president of the Coalition of Concerned Citizens (CCC) operations said: “Our feeling as far as the Coalition is concerned we are totally against it. We believe it is a really bad time to implement that. The economy was already in bad state before the hurricane and when COVID hit it further exacerbated the problems in the economy in Grand Bahama.”
Victor added: “The timing is just really bad. The economy has been staying afloat because the government has been pouring in millions of dollars and the NGOs have been doing tremendous work on the ground. Introducing that charge at this time makes no sense. We plan to hold a virtual town hall meeting in two weeks to address this whole issue.”