BPL exodus leaves up to 60 roles vacant to fill


Tribune Business Reporter


BAHAMAS Power and Light (BPL) needs to fill 50-60 key positions vacated during its voluntary separation exercise, its chief executive has confirmed to Tribune Business.

The VSEP exercise opened to all employees of BPL on May 18 and closed on June 8. Of BLP's 1,038 employees, 314 applications were received. The VSEP exercise will result in more than $70m being paid out over time.

BPL chief executive Whitney Heastie told Tribune Business: "Certainly some of the folks that left would have been crucial and will have to be replaced. What we did was instead of letting go of those individuals who are critical to the day-to-day operations, we let them them stay on with us, while we determine how we can best work having lost someone of that calibre. That process is still going on. There are some departments that would have lost the entire group, such as the IT department where there is only one person left. Those expertise may be readily available but to find someone with 25 years of transmission and distribution experience is going to be extremely difficult," Mr Heastie explained.

The dates when employees are slated to voluntarily leave BPL have been spread out over two years. Mr Heastie suggested BPL would first look in house to fill its critical roles.

"We are evaluating individuals still in the organisation on their skills, competencies and ability to grow into the roles. If we feel they have the basic skills, competency and capacity to fill the role then we will fill the gap by providing the additional training and development needed to assume the role overtime. It's an evaluation process for those critical positions where you just can't find the skill sets in the local community. In areas of IT for instance, a database management, or a network administrator, those positions can be filled quickly filled without any hassle. Depending on where the position is in the company, we're deciding on how we go about it and resolve the shortfall we may have," said Mr Heastie.

He added: "We initially did an assessment of the critical positions and looked at what positions need to be refilled and the number worked out to between 50-60 positions. We asked every department leader to double check and ensure over the next six months that the number they provided is still needed. We are trying to determine whether what we budgeted as the potential net gain is going to be there after all this is said and done."

The utility's chairman Darnell Osborne had previously stated the VSEP exercise would save BPL between $1-$2 million per month, or $12-$24 million per year.