GB residents struggle with high electricity costs

Grand Bahamians are finding it harder to afford the cost of living due to the extremely high costs of  electricity, according to Dr. Eddie Victor, representative for the Coalition of Concerned Citizens.

Dr. Victor who appeared on ILTV’s Beyond the Headlines with host Clint Watson Tuesday said, that “businesses in Grand Bahama have closed and people have lost their jobs due to the high costs of electricity”.

According to Dr. Victor, Grand Bahamas Power Company (GBPC) GBPC has the highest costs of electricity in the region and despite Grand Bahamian’s sentiments about the hike in electricity fees, the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) continues to approve increases without offering alternatives.

Grand Bahama’s struggling economy and the high costs of electricity coupled with the combined high costs of living, has forced many Grand Bahamians to sleep in their cars, according to Dr. Victor.

“The fact of the matter is, hundreds of people still exist without electricity on our island; they have to make a decision, they either have to pay the power bill or pay rent; pay the power bill or buy food,” he said.

“Electricity should not be so expensive that the average person or citizen cannot afford to pay for it.

“In 2015 before the rate increase was approved, Grand Bahama was paying the highest rate of electricity and the highest in the [Caribbean] region.”

Dr. Carlton Bosfield, an engineer  who heads Northern Bahamas Utilities Company (NBUC) and a representative of the coalition told the host that “in 2006, NBUC had sent a proposal to the government to acquire GBPC.”

“…the Americans at that time did not want to split up their portfolio. So, instead of us [NBCU] buying, they wanted to sell to Jamaica and Curacao.

“We also were driven by the goal that there was an opportunity to reduce the cost of electricity,” Dr. Bosfield said.

According to Dr. Bosfield, the formula and method created by NBUC was through renewal energy called, “grid level solar systems” to operate as power plants.

The proposed system, he said, would provide a reduction of up to 30 to 40 per cent, inclusive of the repeated power cuts. The group is now awaiting approval from the government, he said.