As part of the Regulatory Framework established with the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) in 2012, the Grand Bahama Power Company (GBPC) has provided a submission for GBPA’s review.
The Framework, the first of its kind in the Bahamas, set out electricity rates for 2013 to 2015 which resulted in no increase to customers’ all-in costs for the period.
It is clear to us that the GBPA has been building their regulatory knowledge over the past several years through the use of industry experts, resulting in requirements for a greater level of detailed information to ensure decisions are made in the best interests of all electricity customers. The material submitted included:
- An Integrated Resource Plan which assesses how much generation the island will need into the future. This ensures that the improved reliability Grand Bahamians have experienced continues, and that growth can be accommodated.
- A Cost of Service Study which assesses how much it actually costs to produce electricity for each customer class. This is the first time this type of analysis has been done.
- A Depreciation Study which analyzes the remaining useful lives of the company’s plant and equipment. This is a key issue for utilities who are inherently asset-heavy businesses.
- Full financial details on operating, maintenance and general costs.
The GBPA and their consultant have been reviewing the submitted material and have laid out their expectations for the final rate submission. GBPC President Sarah MacDonald said, “The Port Authority has been very clear on what they expect rates to look like for the next few years. They have told us to sharpen our pencils and keep prices stable, which aligns with our long-term goal of stabilizing, and eventually lowering, the cost of electricity to customers.”
Further, the GBPA has asked GBPC to consider low-income customer needs, ways to encourage economic development and the use of alternative energy opportunities. Paul Miller, Managing Director at GBPC stated, “We have really been focused on stabilizing rates for our customers and improving reliability over the last few years; now we’re turning our attention to introducing renewables on the grid. We expect to be using bio-fuel from waste oil, in our trucks and generation equipment by the end of the year, and next year we’ll be installing solar. It’s just a start to reducing our reliance on foreign oil.”
Once the GBPA is satisfied with the material provided, GBPC will meet with various stakeholders and customers to explain the details of the filing and seek feedback. Ms. MacDonald noted, “We are committed to transparency in the regulatory process. We’ll share what we have submitted with a wide group of customers and welcome their questions and concerns, which we will take into consideration in our final rate submission.”