Turnquest says Grand Bahama Power’s Dorian charge ‘regrettable, but necessary’

Turnquest says Grand Bahama Power’s Dorian charge ‘regrettable, but necessary’
Minister of Finance K Peter Turnquest (file photo)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Deputy Prime Minister K Peter Turnquest said the Grand Bahama Power Company’s additional charge to all customer bills to foot the bill for Dorian restoration costs is “regrettable” but “necessary”.

The East Grand Bahama MP underscored the government will hold the company to account as he spoke with reporters ahead of a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Turnquest said: “Any increase in utility cost is a concern to us as representatives as well as the government. This unfortunately is one of those costs that I think is unavoidable.

“The fact of the matter is we need to restore services to the entire island and that comes as at a cost. We have had conversations with the power company since the storm as to how we facilitate this restoration.

“Unfortunately this seems to be the only option available to us to ensure an efficient restoration of power. It is important that we extend those power lines out to the east because there are projects waiting right now to begin to get started and begin reconstruction and expanding in some instances.”

He continued: “While it is regrettable unfortunately it is necessary. I think again this points out the need for our risk mitigation strategy overall both in terms of the government as well as private entities to ensure we spread this risk over a period and not after the event that we build more resilience so we can deal with these storms that are predicted to be ever increasing and frequent and spread the risk a bit more so that it doesn’t become such a burden after an event.

“The power company in its statement has said this is specifically for hurricane recovery costs. We certainly would expect and hold them accountable to that statement.

“This is not a profit making fee. This is to cover the cost of reconstruction and we will hold them to that as we go forward.”

The Grand Bahama Power Company (GBPC) will levy a “storm recovery and stabilization charge” on consumers April 1.

The increase was prompted by Hurricane Dorian, which ravaged the island and Abaco last September – and reportedly cost the GBPC approximately $15 million.

The Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) released a statement on Monday announcing the electricity provider had gotten approval to implement the charge.

The charge will result in an additional 1.3 cents per kilowatt per hour (kWh) for residential consumers; an additional 0.8 of a cent per kWh for commercial consumers and an additional one cent per kWh for GSL (industrial) consumers, according to the power provider.

The charge will show up as a separate line item on electricity bills.

“For the average residential customer, it will represent a less than $7 charge on their bills and for the average business customer; $24,” the GBPA statement read.