Tuesday, August 13, 2019
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
FREQUENT power cuts in New Providence have not sparked an uptick in generator sales, according to one supplier of generators.
Nor have the power cuts led to an increase in requests to the government to import solar panel systems. While solar systems need the approval of the government to be imported duty-free, the panels are automatically duty-free. Inverters for solar panels are also duty-free and generators can be imported at a duty rate of five percent.
However, despite these concessions, there hasn’t been a spike in requests to bring in solar systems, according to Finance Minister K Peter Turnquest.
“No noticeable uptick has been brought to my attention,” the minister said yesterday. “There has been an increase in offers to provide solar installation services to the government but nothing of note in regards to private sector request.”
He also said the government has not given consideration at this stage to removing the duty rate from generators, noting that five percent is “extremely” low.
Yesterday a representative from a well known generator supplier told The Tribune sales have been steady and “nothing out of the ordinary”.
“Sales have been steady,” a Marlin Marine manager said yesterday. “I mean everyone is making a huge big deal out of this (load shedding) but I’m 40 years old and there ain’t been no change in the 40 years.”
He said while people do come in frequently to inquire about generators, the only uptick the store has “definitely” seen is people servicing previously owned units.
He said generator maintenance can be compared to that of a car - “it’s an investment”.
Bahamas Power and Light has been unable to give any indication as to when load shedding is expected to cease.
This is because BPL is experiencing a 40 megawatt generation shortfall as its peak demand is 250mw, but only 2010mw are available.
Consumers have called for clear answers as to when the load shedding situation will improve and have questioned what the company will do to soften the blow of lives often disrupted by electricity cuts. However, BPL CEO Whitney Heastie said BPL cannot afford any form of compensation, while apologising for the utility provider’s failure to give uninterrupted service.