URCA fines BPL $229k for breaches

URCA fines BPL $229k for breaches
Bahamas Power and Light's headquarters.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (“URCA”) has fined Bahamas Power and Light Co Ltd (BPL) $229,535.34 for breach of its license and the Electricity Act 2015 following investigations into last year’s fire and resulting summer load shedding.

URCA issued a Final Determination and Order to BPL for breach of  its Public Electricity Service License (PESL) and the act on November 26.

The regulator cited BPL’s failure, and or refusal, to provide information to inform its deliberations.

“The regulatory measure was issued consequential to URCA’s own-initiative investigation in respect of suspected breaches of section 12 and 24 of BPL’S PESL and section 74 of the EA.  The measure follows a Notice of Preliminary Determination and Draft Order dated 13 September 2019 and issued by URCA to BPL,” an URCA statement read.

“On 8 March 2019 and 16 July 2019, URCA gave notice by letter to BPL that URCA had initiated two investigations, the first was in reference to a significant fire at BPL’s Clifton Pier Power station on 7 September 2018.

The statement continued: “The fire caused widespread outages on New Providence and resulted in the loss of significant generation capacity.  The second investigation concerns BPL’s announced ‘load shedding’ during summer 2019.

“As a result of the ’load shedding’, BPL’s system was impacted by frequent outages in the supply of electricity to customers which has had a serious adverse impact on the public.

“URCA in exercise of its obligations as regulator and in accordance with section 74 of the EA, requested information from BPL to inform its deliberations.  In each case, BPL either failed and/or refused to provide the information requested.

The statement read: “BPL’s failure and or refusal has had and continues to have an adverse impact on URCA’s ability to carry out its regulatory functions under the EA.

“By Final Determination made on 26 November 2019, URCA determined that BPL breached section 74 of the EA and Conditions 12 and 24 of the PESL, by having failed and/or refused to fully comply with URCA’s requests for information made in accordance with the EA and the PESL.

“URCA considered the alleged contraventions of the EA and license conditions by BPL to be repeated and continuing breaches. URCA further considered that the failure and or refusal by BPL to provide the information requested in accordance with the EA and the License was sufficiently serious to warrant the imposition of a fine.

The fine must be paid no later than thirty (30) calendar days from the issuance of this Order, the regulator stated.