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Miller says BEC bill reductions kicking in

Guardian Staff Reporter

Published: Oct 19, 2013

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Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) Executive Chairman Leslie Miller said this week the corporation has started adjusting its customers’ bills by between nine and 10 percent.

In September, Miller said customers would see a reduction in their electricity bills by at least 10 percent, but some may see as much as a 12 percent decrease.

“When you get your bill this month the savings is 9.4 to 10 percent,” said Miller, who was contacted for comment.

“We would have gotten more if Clifton [Pier Power Station] had not screwed up on us in the last two weeks in September.

“Clifton went down and that cost us almost $1 million in fuel cost. The engines were down for about 10 days and that killed us.

“If not [for that] we would have realized a 12 percent decrease in electricity cost.”

The reduced bills are the result of BEC receiving an exemption from paying excise tax on fuel imports.

Prime Minister Perry Christie announced the exemption in the House of Assembly in May.

At the time, the exemption was projected to result in a 6.6 percent drop in electricity costs.

According to Miller, BEC pre-purchased months worth of fuel before the exemption took effect on July 1.

Miller said over the last three months BEC was able to pass on as much as 16 percent in savings to some consumers.

“This is the first year in the summer in several years that there has been any decrease in the cost of electricity in The Bahamas,” Miller said.

“We had seen to it that Clifton was running at full capacity most of the summer apart from those two weeks. I am talking about month to month.”

Miller said consumers who have yet to see the reduction in their bills should expect to see it this month.

The reduction will be reflected in the fuel surcharge portion of the bill.

Miller also said BEC officials are considering how the corporation can realize more savings as the government seeks to liberalize the energy sector.

“With the (request for proposal) RFP in full gear we are looking to see what happens there, and what engines we may be able to use to again bring down the cost of electricity,” he said.

The government has said it intends to enter arrangements with private companies to both offer power generation in The Bahamas and to gain a management contract to take over BEC’s transmission, distribution and billing of customers.

It is anticipated that amendments to the Electricity  Act will occur in February 2013 to allow for full liberalization of the generation, transmission and distribution process.

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