A statement released Wednesday by the Grand Bahama Power Company (GBPC) outlined that following in investigation, it was found that the energy-saving devices that were purchased by many businesses are bogus.
The Cooper family, the owners of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Burger King and the Pollo Tropical franchise in Grand Bahama, admitted at a press conference earlier this week that they were using these ‘energy-saving’ devices which were installed by a contractor licensed by the Grand Bahama Port Authority.
Electricity at these fast food restaurants was disconnected last week Wednesday by Grand Bahama Power, after it was alleged that generation was being stolen.
Yesterday, the power company said following an investigation and discussions with affected customers, the company has learned that businesses purchased what they believed was an energy-saving device, but they were actually the victims of fraud.
The company said these businesses were either connected directly to GBPC’s power system via a meter bypass or the meters were tampered with to un-read actual usage.
“These devices are not energy-saving devices,” the power company stated.
“To date, at every location inspected by GBPC and the Royal Bahamas Police Force in the presence of the owners, it has been shown that all “devices” are simply boxes consisting of bogus wiring with red or green lights, some with small unconnected LCD screens and sand-filled cannisters pretending to be ‘capacitators’ in some instances,” the power company said.
“These fake boxes do nothing but act as a smokescreen for the dangerous diversion of GBPC’s electricity supply and bypass of our meter infrastructure.”
According to the power company, all customers with these fake boxes have been abstracting GBPC electricity supply without paying for the electricity consumed.
The company said an installation to divert GBPC’s electricity supply and bypass its metering infrastructure are extremely dangerous and the non-compliant installation of these devices must be rectified as soon as possible.
“Presently, the number of such fake devices and non-compliant installations are unknown to us,” GBPC said.
Eyewitness News understands that as of yesterday, the power at Burger King and the Pollo Tropical restaurant was restored, but KFC was still operating on generators. However, the Burger King restaurant on Ranfurly Circle in Freeport was closed for business.
Eyewitness News also understands that a person of interest was arrested yesterday by Grand Bahama Police for questioning in relation to the installation of the energy-saving devices that were being used by the Cooper family and other businesses in the nation’s second city.
Meanwhile, the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA), the regulators of Grand Bahama Power, said it has launched an independent investigation into the ongoing allegations of power theft involving several fast food franchises and the energy-saving devices that were installed at these restaurants by a GPBA licensee.