“We have been advocating for years for electricity costs to be lowered on the island”
FREEPORT, GRAND BAHAMA — A Grand Bahama advocacy group yesterday argued that any proposed rate increase for the island’s power company should be rejected, noting that the economic and social condition of the island is “the worst it has ever been”.
Pastor Eddie Victor, head of the Coalition of Concerned Citizens, noted during a press conference yesterday that Grand Bahama remains in a state of recovery, having been dealt a major blow from Hurricane Dorian in 2019, followed by the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The economic and social condition of Grand Bahama is the worst it has ever been,” said Victor.
“The people are currently burdened with the prices in stores, for services and taxes. The unemployment figure for Grand Bahama we believe is just under 50 percent.”
He added: “Any proposal for an increase in the electricity rate is unacceptable and should be rejected by the people of Grand Bahama. We have been advocating for years for electricity costs to be lowered on the island.”
According to Victor, Grand Bahama needs economic revival, not economic oppression.
He commended the government and Minister for Grand Bahama Ginger Moxey for voicing opposition to a rate increase.
The GBPC said in a statement that as a 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.
Moxey has said the government established a Cabinet committee to review and address the rate increase proposal.
She also noted that the government “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”.