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Columns : Letters to The Editor Last Updated: Aug 19, 2019 - 11:15:59 AM

Pamela Burnside: Power to the People NOW
By Pamela Burnside
Aug 17, 2019 - 10:36:50 AM

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Dear Editor,

Power to the People NOW

Electrical power is a necessity and a priority! Any modern country in the 21st century cannot run effectively and efficiently without it – period!

This electricity crisis has been decades in the making, because basic planning and commonsense is not being utilized by the ‘powers that be’ with regards to development and nobody is seeing the big picture and nobody is paying attention to the small details.

Nassau has been allowed to grow helter-skelter. Permits have been given out to build more and more and bigger and bigger, without a proper master plan being designed for providing sufficient infrastructural needs and utilities to meet and satisfy the demand! Basically, we too ‘big eye’ - we want to be first world but are operating under a third world mentality, so crisis is bound to happen and that’s where we are right now!

Whatever is being done in this country, we, the Bahamian people, should be considered first and foremost for the greater good in the planning. So when the public and the business community are constantly complaining about months of load shedding in the height of summer heat, and the lack of electrical supply (which we are paying handsomely for) which causes inconvenience, loss, expense, suffering, and frustration, we expect our concerns to be addressed and corrected!

Since the provision of power is controlled presently by BPL which operates under the Ministry of Works and government – the buck stops with you, as well as with all of the previous cohorts of government entities from whatever political party – one ain’ no better than the next in this debacle - all of you should be ashamed of yourselves! We, the people, have suffered enough and want relief NOW, not later!

BPL, your press conference was pathetic!  We, the people, do not want to hear any more same, lame excuses, and we don’t want to hear about relief in 2020 and 2021 – tell us your plans to deliver relief NOW, not later!

MAINTENANCE - the engines have not been properly maintained – gubments dem dead good at dat!  There being no money for maintenance equates with being penny wise and pound foolish - just like the expensive rental of generators for the summer which apparently are not all being used to provide relief – why did you not explain that?

BAHAMIAN EXPERTISE – We say thank you to those BPL Bahamian engineers and technicians who have been patching up those un-maintained generators for all these years. They know exactly what to do - so why are Americans ‘specialists’ being brought in for that job? If it true that many of the Bahamians have been retired or asked to leave - that was not a wise choice.

AIN NO MONEY – BEC/BPL, an electricity monopoly, claims constant money shortages. But since this was never an issue in days gone by, extreme mismanagement, non-payment of bills to the select, and ‘tiefing’ must be the culprits. Tell us why we, the people, are made to suffer for your inadequacies!

MORE & BIGGER - Nassau Street has been dug up for a while (causing traffic confusion with school opening in a few weeks) laying lines for electrical services to The Pointe. Where is that extra power supply coming from, and how much more load shedding will that mean for we, the people?

LOST REVENUE – Businesses are losing customers, product and money because of the constant load-shedding. How can people run a business like this?

ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES – The public and businesses are all losing appliances because of load shedding and power surges without proper recourse for compensation – and BPL you know that, so stop asking us to fill out forms for a couple dollars!

OFF THE GRID - We are grateful to those hotels agreeing to go off the grid to alleviate the load shedding. It costs them considerable money to run generators for periods of time and in instances where the load shedding is not coordinated, visitors can still get stuck in elevators, or are inconvenienced, and have to be compensated. The hotels are losing appliances too, so overall all of this affects their bottom line.

PRIORITY – If gubment can find millions of dollars overnight to sink into a failing Freeport hotel and give out separation packages, fixing the electrical problem should be considered a priority. Surely such an essential service for the people of this island warrants similar consideration!

BILLS – No electricity, no charge. This load shedding has been going on for months and most people say their electricity bills are not showing a comparable decrease in spite of being off for long periods of time – please explain those maths?

ALTERNATE ENERGY – If you cannot provide we, the people, with reliable ‘current’ at least give us incentives for alternate options that we can afford!

Why aren’t Bahamians being encouraged to utilize solar power (which I understand is duty free, but not VAT free – so make them VAT free too!) There has to be comparable ‘tit for tat’ in this equation.

The Sport Centre was recently solarised.  Why wasn’t the company in charge of that installation how they could solarise other areas in the country? Ragged Island is finally being solarised – were any inquiries made to that provider for creative solutions here?

GENERATORS – Just like during the last hurricane when we were without power for weeks and even months, generator sales are booming and the fuel companies are laughing all the way to the bank! They, no doubt, are quite content for this crisis to continue.

URCA – It is obvious that a Regulatory agency is sorely needed to oversee this sector, and since URCA is apparently meant to eventually add energy to its portfolio, this should be brought into effect sooner rather than later.

Finally, I find it amazing and disrespectful for Ministers, Boards and administrations to refuse to speak the truth to the people who are paying for services they are not receiving.

Enough is enough and we, the people, demand - yes demand - that you get this situation fixed NOW!

Yours sincerely,

Pam Burnside

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his/her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of TheBahamasWeekly.com

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