NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) announced today it will defer the implementation of its storm recovery and stabilization charge on electricity to January 1, 2021.
The authority underscored the “unprecedented times” amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The charge, which will allow the utility company to recoup costs associated with Hurricane Dorian, was approved on April 1.
Its implementation was delayed to August 1 due to COVID-19.
It was further delayed to October 1 to “help support residents” during what the authority said was a challenging period.
Yesterday, GBPA said because of the state of the economy, the unexpected second wave of infections, and the restrictive lockdowns, it considered the “best interests of customers” and deferred the recovery of the $15.6 million cost associated with Dorian.
“With the evolving global pandemic COVID-19, these are unprecedented times and the Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA), in our role as regulator, must balance the need for a healthy electric utility with upgraded technology and infrastructure, against the needs of the consumer and the island’s economy,” read a statement.
“As such, the GBPA has worked together with the Grand Bahama Power Company (GBPC) to further delay the implementation of its Storm Recovery and Stabilization (SRS) charge to 2021.
GBPC is permitted to recoup non-insured, prudent costs associated with recovery from a natural disaster amortized over a five-year period.
“Since the onset of COVID-19, we have been in consultation with the utility over the proposed timing for implementation of the storm charge, resulting in successive deferrals,” GBPA General Legal Counsel Karla McIntosh said.
“Given the present state of the economy and the unexpected second wave and restrictive lockdowns, it is our regulatory obligation to consider the best interests of customers.”
The authority added: “The GBPA understands that it is a challenging time for many Grand Bahamians, and reminds GBPC’s customers that the SRS charge is not a flat fee but based on consumption, and that judicious use of electricity will result in a lower monthly charge and a lower overall power bill.”