Categorized | National News

BEC To Undergo Restructuring

Both the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) and Bahamasair will experience some restructuring over the course of the next few years to help reduce the financial burden on the government from both agencies, revealed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Urban Development Philip Davis.

During his contribution to the 2012/2013 Budget Debate in the House of Assembly yesterday, Mr. Davis said the government is committed to reducing operating costs and bring down energy costs for consumers.

The deputy prime minister said renewable energy is being explored and he noted that this measure is expected to bring relief to both the government and BEC’s customers.

“Renewable energy on the utility scale as well as the residential scale will be pursued including arrangements for residential customers using alternative energy supplies to be able to connect into the BEC grid under a net billing arrangement,” the deputy prime minister said.

“With this in mind, the government will also consider a waste to energy solution. While the primary benefit will be from an environmental perspective, a resultant benefit would be the production of electricity being made available to the public through BEC.”

The works and urban development minister also said that the government will begin looking at ways to reduce the number of power stations operating on the Family Islands.

“The corporation will review the opportunities for further interconnection of standalone site,” Mr. Davis said. “At present a number of Cays are connected via submarine cables so as to reduce the number of power stations throughout the Family Islands.

“There is also the issue of addressing the stability concerns at the Wilson City Power Station in Abaco so that Marsh Harbour can be used as a standby or back up facility as compared to full-time operation. This would result in lower operational costs.”

Mr. Davis said that while Bahamasair has made some significant progress, the airliner still has a lot of work to do.

He said returning to the company to solid financial standing will be difficult particularly because of rapidly increasing domestic and international competition.

“Bahamasair, like the rest of the airline industry, is faced with many challenges – none greater than the escalating cost of fuel. This places a substantial financial burden on the company’s operation and costs to the government,” he said.

“Notwithstanding this, Bahamasair’s budgeted net loss for the upcoming fiscal year is $21.8 million which is $1.7 million or some 8 per cent less than forecasted for this year ending 20th June 2012.”

The deputy prime minister said even though Bahamasair continues to be plagued by many of the same challenges that it has faced since its inception, more needs to be done in order to render the airliner fully efficient and less dependent on the government’s subsidies.

“All of the stakeholders in Bahamasair will be asked to look objectively at the airline and its future,” Mr. Davis said. “Bahamasair must be transformed into a leaner, more efficient and lower-cost carrier with a new vision along with a revised business model.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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