The Government will cause all disconnected residential Grand Bahama Power Company consumers to have their electricity restored, and will, as it did for Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) consumers, cause the fuel surcharge to be limited for some 15,0000 consumers on Grand Bahama, Minister of State for Finance the Hon. Zhivargo Laing announced in parliament Wednesday.
The announcement represented a fulfilment of a pledge made to electricity consumers on Grand Bahama by Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham, when he announced the Government’s social assistance plan for BEC consumers throughout the country on September 17.
The Prime Minister pledged that the Government would do no less for Grand Bahama than it did for BEC consumers throughout the country.
Minister Laing said: “We will be able to subsidize the surcharge level that is charged to those consumers so that for the next three months ending in December, residential consumers in Grand Bahama consuming under 800kwh will be charged no more than 15 cents per kilowatt hour for the fuel surcharge just as is the case with BEC.”
The subvention, he added, will impact some 15,000 consumers on the island – 75 percent of the Power Company’s customers, and will cost the Government between $1 million to $1.5 million.
During his September announcement in parliament on relief for BEC consumers, Prime Minister Ingraham said the Government would meet with officials from the Grand Bahama Power Company, “to explore means by which similar relief might can be brought to consumers of electricity in Grand Bahama.”
Minister Laing travelled to Freeport the following day to meet with Power Company officials.
Highlighting the Government’s proactive stance in addressing the needs of businesses on Grand Bahama meantime, the Minister told parliamentarians of his recent discussions with business owners in the Port Lucaya district who expressed concerns about high operating costs coupled with decreased revenue streams, and who inquired about what the Government could do to assist.
“I spoke to the leadership of the Grand Bahama Port Authority and I asked them, ‘can we talk about what can do together in respect of relief for them’,” Minister Laing noted.
“I got a call from that leadership today (Wednesday) to say that they are working out some things and that by the end of next week he would be able to call me and tell me what they are doing in an attempt to bring relief to those kinds of people in the Port Lucaya area.
“While we can come in here (parliament) and talk, we have to go out there and act, and act is exactly what we have done,” he said.