NASSAU, The Bahamas — Minister of Energy and Transport the Hon. JoBeth Coleby-Davis said the Bahamas Power and Light Company (BPL) has over $500 million in debt.

“Yes, that’s right over half-a-billion dollars and counting. It owes banks, it owes the government and its employee’s pensions are underfunded by $120 million. You heard me! The employees’ pension is underfunded by $120 million. Big change is needed!”

Minister Coleby-Davis was making her Contribution to the 2023-2024 Mid-Year Budget Debate in the House of Assembly on Wednesday, March 6, 2024.

She explained that BPL operates 29 power stations on 17 Islands, and over the next five years BPL will need an investment of over $500 million to upgrade its infrastructure:

$300 million in new generation in New Providence and the Family Islands,

$130 million in transmission and distribution in New Providence in the next two years alone,

$35 million in advanced metering infrastructure, and

$70 million in other costs.

The Minister said, “Today to fix BPL, we need over $500 million to address its debts and over $500 million to upgrade and improve our aged and deteriorated infrastructure.”

Plan to Lower Cost, increase reliability and use cleaner sources of energy

The Energy Minister explained that the Government’s plan has four components, each of which is necessary to finally deliver to Bahamians what they deserve: lower prices, increased reliability, and cleaner sources of energy.

She said the components are:

Incorporate solar as a blended source of energy in the Family Islands with a view to replacing 100MW of generation infrastructure. The Ministry received 29 proposals in response to its Request for Proposal (RFP), and is presently evaluating those proposals and intends to notify the successful bidders by the end of March.

Incorporate solar as a source of 60-100MW of power generation in New Providence. The Ministry issued the RFP and the deadline for submitting proposals is March 28, 2024.

Replace and upgrade much of the Transmission and Distribution System in New Providence to improve reliability and reduce cost.

Ensure New Providence has 340 MW of power to meet demand now, and be in a better position to meet forecast growth in coming years. This requires replacing aged or obsolete generation, purchasing considerable additional new generation, and introducing LNG, liquid natural gas, to increase efficiency of the generating environmental impacts.

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