Categorized | National News

Bill To Allow Borrowing by BPL

Bahamas Power and Light (BPL)  is seeking to do a number of things which in effect will be “fairly costly,” according to Minister of Public Works, Desmond Bannister.  During his contribution to the Electricity Amendment (BPL) Bill, in the House of Assembly yesterday, the Minister said “the current BPL legislation, while it provides that BEC is to be a body corporate,  it provides for the transfer of certain functions from BEC to BPL,” Mr. Bannister said.

According to Mr. Bannister,  BPL needs to adjust the language in its statutes in order to receive much needed funding and to borrow within its limits. 

“In order to be able to secure the funding that BEC needs now,  the lenders are requiring them to have certain specific language in their statute; language which ensures among the functions that they have, would be the power to borrow, for example, and at the appropriate time.

“We will be seeking to lay a resolution which will permit them to borrow certain funding up to the current limits that they have, not above the current limits that the government is guaranteed, but up to the current limits. 

“And that is going to be for a number of purposes and I think that all members here would want to support,” Mr. Bannister said. 

Mr. Bannister revealed that an Automatic Meter Reading will be the first thing that would be funded, which he says is needed to assist thousands of Bahamians to have access to electricity in their homes. 

“The first one is the AMR, we had, at last count several thousand Bahamians, and I see this in Carmichael, which is a fairly affluent community who have not had electricity in their homes for some time. Some of them have not had electricity in their home for years. 

This Automatic Meter Reading is going to permit people to prepay on their meters. So you’re going to be able to say I’m going to pay for my meter, I’m going to put a couple dollars here and I’m going to be able to have power here in my home and I am going to be able to monitor that. I am going to be able to monitor that from my cellphone. 

“It’s going to give Bahamians in many of our communities that did not have power on,  to be able to have power on and BPL is going to offer some concessions to be able to ensure that Bahamians who would have had their powers disconnected for some reason, are going to be able to benefit from this opportunity,” Mr. Bannister said.

“It is something that each one of us, every member of this parliament who represents constituents,   are face with our constituents.  I believe these are measures, non-partisan that we want to do for all Bahamians,” he said. 

Mr. Bannister however, specified who would benefit from the AMR, as he said that he did not want Bahamians to take advantage of the system. 

“People have had their power off for some time and we want to find a way so that they can get back on without having to break the bank, and I want to be careful how I say that to ensure that other people do not seek to take advantage of this who can afford to do better. 

“But it is going to be an opportunity for people all over this country, particularly people in our heritage communities to have their power on to monitor their power on a regular basis via their phones and on the internet,” Mr. Bannister said. 

The amendment to the bill specifically amends section 8 (2) of the act and explicitly indicates that BEC will have certain functions which allows them in the future to be able to borrow money. 

Mr. Bannister said that over the past two years the price of oil has increased from $40 a barrel to up to $68-$71 a barrel, which causes real concerns for Bahamians on these are issues  and what BPL has to face with providing power cost.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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