END IN SIGHT: URCA says BPL fuel charges have peaked

END IN SIGHT: URCA says BPL fuel charges have peaked
Bahamas Power and Light.

Lower rates to be reflected on October bills

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) customers could soon begin to see some relief from electricity bills, as the power company has confirmed to its regulator that fuel charges have peaked and that customers can expect lower rates going forward.

The Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) said in a statement yesterday that over the course of the past few months, it has received an increasing number of complaints from BPL customers regarding high electricity bills. 

“Part of URCA’s remit as the regulator for the electricity sector in The Bahamas is to ensure consumer protection and support appropriate billing,” URCA noted.

“URCA considers electricity a basic necessity that should be affordable and remains concerned about the impact of high electricity bills on BPL’s customers and the economy. Considering the widespread complaints, and in accordance with its commitment to protect consumers, URCA has been monitoring the situation.”

“In recent discussions, BPL confirmed that fuel charges have reached their peak and customers can expect lower rates moving forward. The company has confirmed the fuel charge will decline this month for many consumers and will be reflected in those consumers’ electricity bills next month.”


Last October, BPL announced an initiative to increase its fuel charge to reflect the rising fuel cost and clear some of the outstanding debt it owed on prior fuel purchases. It revealed this would be done gradually through the use of a glide path strategy. 

“In reviewing consumer complaints, URCA has found that consumers have unfortunately experienced the compound billing effects of increased demand during the summer months and the increase in the fuel charge via the glide path strategy,” URCA noted.

According to the regulator, it is typical for some consumer’s consumption of electricity to double in the summer months due to air conditioning and children being home from school. 

“The doubling of consumption multiplied by the fuel charge, which is almost three times what it was last summer, means many consumers’ bills are significantly higher,” URCA said.

“BPL’s glide path strategy was designed to slowly increase the fuel charge to a peak this summer and then decrease the fuel charge continuously through the end of February 2024.

“By March 2024, BPL is expected to have paid off its outstanding fuel debt. This means that as of March 2024, bills are expected only to reflect the actual cost of fuel used in supplying consumers.

“At that point, provided the market price of fuel remains the same, or decreases, the charge for fuel will naturally decrease. Hence, consumers will receive a lower bill for the same amount of consumption,” said URCA. 


BPL’s outstanding debt should not be a consumer’s problem. That is a management problem. Cut the management salaries to pay off the debt, or at least make them accountable. Maybe tie BPL bonuses at the end of the year to having a sound financial plan and having that plan work. I have 3 people living in a 3 bedroom house and my electricity bill went from the highest of $581 in July to $1295 for the August bill. That is unsustainable. I cannot afford to live here, something is wrong. My usage did not and could not more than double for the month of August. What can I do? Nothing, there is no recourse. My normal BPL bill ranges from $200-$400. When I got the July bill of $581 I just chalked it up to a hotter than normal summer and the a/c having to work harder(I keep my thermostat on 78) While I was shocked by the larger amount, I was able to pay it and was more aware of turning off lights and being energy conscious. $1295 is just unreal for one month small house. I feel that I am being cheated and abused by BPL. We need some help to get energy costs down or the country is going to lose businesses and business and good people that have options to live somewhere else with a more affordable cost of living are going to leave. Rental rates are going to have to rise to cover the electricity charges and hotel rates are going to have to go way up and tourism(our main revenue) might suffer. Not sure what the answer is, but maybe more transparency by BPL so that possible solutions can be found.

They going to hell. Fuel surcharges + VAT over $650 2 months back to back on a smaller house with AC NOT used every day.

I have a 900 sq, ft, house and switched to mini splits 3 years ago. Only run one one or two of them at a time. No crazy power use. Current bill $773.00 Last year – $375.00.

The last 3 months have been over $700!

We have a 1 bdrm 2 bath house 700 Sq ft and our bill went from $435 to $1,253 in August. There is no way usage tripled.
The bigger issue is BPL’s habitual extension of a billing cycle. Last month the billing cycle was 37 days. This simply means 7 extra days consuming at the highest rate for energy and fuel. This extortion had to stop.

Why would the BPL outstanding debt affects consumers? We are “the customers” NOT BUSINESS PARTNERS!

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