Customers warned: No more slack on BPL bills

By Neil Hartnell

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

Servicing Bahamas Power & Lights (BPL) $650m refinancing will end the buddy-buddy system that has enabled delinquent electricity payers to evade disconnection, a union leader is warning.

Paul Maynard, The Bahamas Electrical Workers Unions (BEWU) president, told Tribune Business that bill-ducking customers will be in for a culture shock as they will no longer be able to rely on friends, family and political connections to escape cut-off once the rate reduction bond issue is placed in January 2019.

He said it was inevitable that BPL will now have to tighten up and run properly, especially when collecting the rate reduction bond (RRB) fee that consumers must pay, since this will be demanded by financial institutions and other lenders who agree to purchase the bonds.

Warning that failure to properly collect could result in a default on the bond repayments, which would then enable the lenders to seize the property pledged as security/collateral for their investment, Mr Maynard said this would also have the effect of compliant BPL bill payers carrying the financial burden of servicing the debt.

Describing the proposed BPL refinancing as a big gamble, the line staff union chief said it was critical that the Government - as well as the state-owned utility monopolys Board and management - provide specific details on what consumers can expect.

He argued that Bahamians dont mind paying extra as long as they are convinced th....

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