July 05, 2022
WORKS and Utilities Minister Alfred Sears yesterday said no decision has been made to increase electricity bills, however he urged Bahamians "to be more prudent" with usage given high energy costs.
Speaking to reporters Mr Sears said the country spends over $1bn yearly on fossil fuel imports, a practice he described as simply unsustainable.
With costs having risen even further due to the Russian-Ukrainian war among other factors, Mr Sears said the need for the country to reduce its reliance of fossil fuels has become even more critical.
One way the government is seeking to do this is by focusing on harnessing renewable energy, he added.
“We all live in the world, and we know that with the war in Ukraine as well as the issues in terms of the global chain and trade at the disruption having to do with the pandemic as well as the war,” Mr Sears said.
“So, we’re living in a very challenging time and that is the reason why we need to move towards the incorporation of renewable (energy) because over $1bn that we pay every year for fossil fuel whether it’s oil or gas, it’s not really sustainable and, therefore, we’re working very aggressively.”
The minister continued: “We chair an energy committee of the Cabinet and that committee, as we speak, is meeting with a number of suppliers of renewables, such as solar as well as LNG and so we can see how we can lessen our carbon footprint, reduce the foreign exchange that we currently expend for fossil fuel and take us in a more resilien and a more sustainable direction with our generation.
“We are also encouraging everyone to be more prudent in the use of electricity and to take more conservatory measures. Those are things that all of us as residents and citizens of our country can do while we work on the macro issue of incorporating renewable building (and) more efficiency and modernising the distribution of infrastructure of BPL.”
His plea comes after officials warned about the possibility of an electricity price increase.
BPL CEO Shevonn Cambridge recently predicted the company will increase its fuel charge in “the next month or two”.
“Right now, there is a fixed fuel charge,” Mr Cambridge said in an interview with The Tribune late last month.
“There is a mechanism in place that allows for the adjustment of that fuel charge. We’re currently conducting an internal review to see if the necessary triggers or thresholds have been reached that will require us to do that adjustment.
“Based on the current fuel prices, right, when it does come it will be up - it won’t be down. Exactly when that will occur, we’re not certain as yet. So, the prices have gone up, so obviously when we adjust more than likely the adjustment will be an upward adjustment.”
Asked about the issue yesterday, Minister Sears replied: “No decision has been made to increase the rate.”
For his part, Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis has said he has no intentions to “have more taxes or more costs” imposed on the Bahamian people.
The Prime Minister said the country was petitioning for the US to lift the sanctions on Venezuela as a means to help alleviate high energy and fuel costs in the Caribbean.
“What is in our control and which I have been doing is letting our voice be heard about some of the initiatives and policies in some of the industrialised world that is causing the increase in oil. Quite apart from the invasion of Ukraine there are also other issues like the sanctions on Venezuela that impacted the cost of fuel, particularly for us,” Prime Minister Davis said.
“So, if those sanctions are lifted it helps and so we have been agitating.”
However, a US official recently told a local daily that the country’s position on the policy has not changed.
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News date : 07/05/2022
Category : Business, Finance, Home, Tribune Stories