“The government of The Bahamas will not support any rate increase on any portion of the customer base on Grand Bahama Island at this time”
Moxey: The application for rate increase is just that — an application
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The government has established a Cabinet committee to review and address the Grand Bahama Power Company’s (GBPC) rate increase proposal.
Minister for Grand Bahama Ginger Moxey noted in a statement yesterday that the government, pursuant to the Electricity Act, 2015, has the statutory mandate to set the national energy policy, the goal and objective of which “shall be the creation of a regime for the supply of safe, least cost, reliable and environmentally sustainable electricity throughout The Bahamas”.
“This statutory mandate includes ‘aspects of social policy, including the scope of universal services and the protection of vulnerable customers,’” she added.
“The devastating effects of Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic on residents of Grand Bahama is a matter of deep concern to the government.”
The GBPC said in a statement that as part of its regulatory framework agreement, it has filed its first rate adjustment application since 2015 with the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA).
The company said the filing addresses two main topics: the requirement for an increase in base rates to maintain its operations going forward, and a generation plan that would see 15 percent of the island’s electricity needs fueled by renewable energy by 2026, bringing greater energy diversification and independence.
A Cabinet committee comprising Attorney General Ryan Pinder, Ministers Obie Wilchcombe, Alfred Sears, Dr Michael Darville and Moxey has been established “to review and address the matter; and to ensure that the rights and interests of the residents of Grand Bahama are protected, consistent with the national energy policy”.
“As a result of our strong response to this application, we have since received further correspondence from GBPA, which explained the process and offered assurance that the application is just that — an application, which is required to be filed every three years and is a component of an established regulatory framework agreement between the two entities,” said Moxey.
“We can confirm that GBPA has not given any approvals to GBPC to proceed with any adjustments to the power rates for Grand Bahama residents; and will follow the established process which dictates that before any approvals can be given, the rate plan must be published and GBPA will hold a public 45-day consultative process so that the voice of every Grand Bahamian resident can be heard.
“The government will ensure that the objectives of the national energy policy are observed.
“However, I categorically state that while we understand that the filing is part of an established process, the government of The Bahamas will not support any rate increase on any portion of the customer base on Grand Bahama Island at this time as it is our firm position that the people of Grand Bahama should not be further burdened on the heels of the economic stagnation caused by Hurricanes Matthew and Dorian, which was compounded by the global pandemic.
“We have scheduled a meeting with GBPA and the Cabinet committee in the next two weeks regarding this application, and will be very clear and direct with our message.
“The people and businesses of Grand Bahama have suffered enough and are looking for compassionate leadership in governance and in corporate Bahamas.”