Miller blames power outages on the hiring of 'foreigners' over Bahamians


Tribune Staff Reporter

FORMER Bahamas Electricity Corporation Chairman Leslie Miller yesterday blamed the frequent power outages at Bahamas Power and Light on the former administration’s decision to hire "foreigners" to run the power company rather than allow Bahamians to "fix the problems".

In an interview with The Tribune, Mr Miller said had former Prime Minister Perry Christie allowed the former BEC board to remain in place and "follow through on our plans" the Bahamian people would not have this problem.

Mr Miller served as executive chairman of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC), now called BPL, until late 2015. He was removed from his post at the utility provider shortly after the government announced that a transition service agreement had been signed with PowerSecure.

The outspoken MP was later made chairman of the Water and Sewerage Corporation.

Yesterday he expressed anger over the present state of the company as he insisted that many of the ongoing issues faced by BPL were in the process of being resolved under his regime.

"It is just amazing to me. If Mr Christie allowed the former board to stay in place and follow through on our plans, the Bahamian would not have these problems. We had financing through the Danish Import Export Bank and we were getting a loan at a 2 per cent interest rate that would have significantly reduced the fuel costs to Bahamians," Mr Miller said.

"This would have been settled but they wanted these foreigners and it is a disgrace what has happened. What the hell these new people doing and why haven't secured a long term fuel contract? These people getting a minimum of $5 million of our hard earned money in these difficult times to do nothing. I see why these people run us. They had every right not to return us because of the things we did and did not do."

Mr Miller said he hopes the Minnis led government will fix the issue in BPL fast or the summer will be "rough" for Bahamians.

"This summer is going to be hard because BPL does not have the capacity. We need an extra 50 megawatts to get through the summer. Baha Mar is now open and using power and BPL has no reserves," Mr Miller said.

"Let's hope the Free National Movement truly does believe in Bahamians. I am looking at them and listening to them. I know Dr Hubert Minnis means well, but he needs to show the people that he cares about them by reducing the cost of electricity and fixing the issues at BPL."

Mr Miller's comments came one day after New Providence experienced an island wide power outage.

The company blamed the outage on a “cable failure” and reassured customers that the utility provider would find “immediate solutions to this problem and long-term strategies to prevent a recurrence.”

Last month, BPL expressed “confidence” in its readiness to take on the peak summer months with its higher power generation capability.

At the time, BPL said while it expected the needed power generation this summer to peak at 255 megawatts, its current generation availability is over 345mw. This is 90mw higher than the demand expected this summer, BPL said.

In addition, the electricity provider said transmission cables between Blue Hills Power Station and the Big Pond Sub-Station have been replaced and upgraded to improve the capacity and reliability of the transmission system.

Pointing to the period from June through to September last year, in which BPL experienced challenges due to low generation availability and reliability, the company said recently it wanted to ensure the Bahamians would not suffer from the same issues this summer.


BaronInvest says...

Yeah let's blame the foreigners because we all know Bahamians are so educated, smart and willing to work very hard - haha.

How about making solar and wind energy components duty free instead of burning fuel on an island that has always sun and wind. Let homeowners feed electricity into the grid.

Posted 17 June 2017, 2:50 a.m. Suggest removal

Tarzan says...

Well said, but of course you must remember Mr. Miller's comment to a similar suggestion when he was running the power grid: "If all the wealthy foreigners go solar, who is going to pay to run the power company?" It should have read, "Who is going to pay for all the skimming by the PLP?"

Posted 18 June 2017, 9:26 a.m. Suggest removal

banker says...


Posted 19 June 2017, 2:39 p.m. Suggest removal

Socrates says...

Miller is wrong on this.. never in the history of this country have we ever had reliable and affordable electricity..NEVER.. i dont know why it seems to be such a mystery here.. certainly elsewhere, people seem to be able to keep the lights on and they have above ground cables, storms, etc.. what a mystery...

Posted 17 June 2017, 6:55 a.m. Suggest removal

Economist says...

The "mystery" that we can't do is is called Planning, Responsibility for your actions, and Maintenance.

Posted 17 June 2017, 6:36 p.m. Suggest removal

Porcupine says...

Mr. Miller is a disgrace to humanity.
After reading the papers yesterday alone, with the murder rates, obesity, diabetes, the stolen monies from EVERY BAHAMIAN governmental agency, the politically connected web shops sucking this small nation dry, Mr. Miller would like us to believe that Bahamians are to be trusted. Fix one thing first, and perhaps Mr. Miller, a thinking person would say, OK try to fix the next thing.
Anyone who can't see the trajectory of this once wonderful chain of islands is blind. Foreigners did not bring this small country to its' knees. We did it to ourselves. And, continuing to give a small-minded full scale loser and scam artist like Leslie Miller a say in anything is the best recipe for continuing down this road to hell.

Posted 17 June 2017, 6:57 a.m. Suggest removal

ohdrap4 says...

> "It is just amazing to me. If Mr
> Christie allowed the former board to
> stay in place and follow through on
> our plans, the Bahamian would not have
> these problems. We had financing
> through the Danish Import Export Bank
> and we were getting a loan at a 2 per
> cent interest rate that would have
> significantly reduced the fuel costs
> to Bahamians," Mr Miller said.

The Danish are bahamians?

or is he talking about the petrocarib folly?

has he paid his bill yet?

Posted 17 June 2017, 6:59 a.m. Suggest removal

DDK says...

With CASH, lots of CASH???????

Posted 19 June 2017, 2:45 p.m. Suggest removal

sheeprunner12 says...

To be fair to Leslie Miller ....... He did not support Perry & Brave's decisions to reform BEC under the last TWO PLP regimes ........... But his LNG, employees, and plant plans were frustrated and eventually pushed aside .......... Leslie may get a BEC consultancy soon!!!!!

Posted 17 June 2017, 10:13 a.m. Suggest removal

Porcupine says...

At first, I didn't like your use of Fook.
However, it is really starting to grow on me, as I share much of the frustration as you.

Posted 18 June 2017, 12:26 p.m. Suggest removal

DDK says...

While you're at it, tell that to Donald Rump!

Posted 19 June 2017, 2:48 p.m. Suggest removal

BahamasForBahamians says...

Lol can we get a "fook you" for the incoming government at the same time?

Or is your view one sided?

Posted 19 June 2017, 2:57 p.m. Suggest removal

BaronInvest says...

This small nation could be at the very top in pretty much all categories. It's such a small but wealthy environment- it's a real shame Bahamians allow a small minority to stop this country by succeeding in every aspect - by filling their own pockets and holding the hand open at every corner.

I could run my own electricity company in your country - made from renewable energy. With a little investment of maybe 2-3 million. Let me buy some land and import solar and wind generators. But with all these showstoppers around the Bahamas is uninvestable for me.

Posted 18 June 2017, 11:33 a.m. Suggest removal

banker says...

It could be the Switzerland of the Caribbean if it were for all of the dumb people created by the PLP.

What would really work well is power generation with a solar furnace array driving an electrical generation plant.

Posted 19 June 2017, 2:43 p.m. Suggest removal

OldFort2012 says...

The man missed his vocation. He should have been a stand up comic. Every time he opens his mouth, I piss myself laughing.

Posted 18 June 2017, 5:33 p.m. Suggest removal

Jetflt says...

So why didn't you address the problems Miller when you were Chairman?? The notion that foreigners are the cause of island wide outages and Bahamians would have fixed the issues is the most assinine statement I have ever heard. Leave it to Bahamians - yeah that's why we're so far ahead of the rest of the world, right??

Posted 18 June 2017, 8:37 p.m. Suggest removal

Gotoutintime says...

If people like you Mr.Miller had paid their bills maybe BEC would not have been in such a bad situation!

Posted 18 June 2017, 9:35 p.m. Suggest removal

licks2 says...

This PLP clan just don't get it. . .he is one on the most glaring problem with BPL. . .friends, family and lovers don't pay any bills! Mr. Miller just please shut-up and leave the stage. . .

Posted 19 June 2017, 10:52 a.m. Suggest removal

OMG says...

I guess we will blame the foreigners for the next 30-40 years. Simple Mr Miller third world politics where you waste money on all sorts of worthless schemes such as expensive clinics that do not open (Exuma), exorbitant salaries for PLP hirings (Baltron Bethel) MP's that don't pay their electricity bills (Mr Leslie Miller), unsecured loans for certain people from BOB and not repaid and lastly the total inability to plan for the future .I think Christies was quite clever because if the new company failed he could blame them and if they succeeded he could have taken the credit. As for Chairman of water and sewerage maybe he would like to live in central Eleuthera which frequently goes for days on end with no water yet they have no problem billing for a lousy 4th world service. Lastly the PLP government borrowed so much money despite VAT and a raft of other tax rises and made so many political hirings that any new government has its hands tied. The PLP operated like a brain dead resident who buys a brand new $30,000 car when his roof is leaking, giving no thought to retraint, accountability and prioritizing his spending..

Posted 19 June 2017, 11:36 a.m. Suggest removal

sheeprunner12 says...

Well ......... the new MP (Johnson) had very little to say ......... Mackey was very dynamic ........... Hopefully, the FNM Cabinet will acknowledge (and act) that Nassau is not The Bahamas

Posted 19 June 2017, 12:57 p.m. Suggest removal

DDK says...

OMG - just like old days Over Da Hill, tiny house in disrepair with t.v. antenna on roof, freezer chained to the front porch and big, shiny Caddy parked outside. Da Bahamian way. We've come a long way baby!

Posted 19 June 2017, 3 p.m. Suggest removal

DaGoobs says...

Miller is part of the problem not part of the solution. His good friend and former Works Minister Brave Davis was the person in the PLP government who spearheaded bringing Powrt Secure to these islands to take over the management and operations of BEC for $900,000 per month. We were given to understand that Power Secure had all the answers and would come in with the manpower, expertise, money and capability to rectify and solve all of the problems with our power systems and with the operation of BEC, so much so that despite protests by Miller decrying the need to bring in this foreign company to run our electricity system, his colleagues had so much confidence in him and the job that he had done that they didn't leave him on the Board of BEC but shipped him off to Water & Sewerage Corporation. By the way, notice the difference in the PLP's attitude: we can't have foreigners running/managing/owing our communications systems but it's okay to turn over the reins of our national power grid to a bunch of foreigners with a new wind from the Carolinas. Miller and his PLP cohorts could have done much more to promote solar energy and the use of new technology. But their mindset was to keep BEC big and bloated and then at the 11th hour before the election float the idea of free electricity for certain unspecified categories of users. The old saying that there's no free lunch applied to that idea as the question like with NHI is how and who is going to pay for it. They were already killing the middle class in this country by coming down hard on tax collection while giving free passes and waivers to their friends and supporters. Miller did a lot of talking but despite all of his talking we never saw any real results at BEC or Water & Sewerage.

Posted 19 June 2017, 4:35 p.m. Suggest removal

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