EDITORIAL: No love from the public for BPL’s plan

If BPL wondered how their proposed additional charge to the monthly electric bill would go down, the Bahamian people have given them a swift answer.

Ridiculous. Outrageous. Infuriating. Robbery. Just a handful of the comments from people spoken to by The Tribune yesterday.

We warned in this column yesterday that BPL was walking a fine line – Bahamians have made clear in their comments exactly how fine that line is.

As one person said: “BPL need to bring the light bills down, it’s as simple as that. They said the light bill was only high because of certain circumstances. Now that they got this new (engines), why the light bill going up? This is robbery.”

Another said: “If you’re going to add something to my bill, I must be getting something in return.”

That’s the dilemma that faces BPL as they proceed with their refinancing plans. The public has put up with a lot from the company – and now they want the company to deliver in return.

There’s no use crying about what went before in the management of the company – BPL knew, or should have known, what they were taking on in the transformation from the old BEC.

Although while we talk about the history of power generation in The Bahamas, we have said before that rather than finger pointing without proof, the public could do with a full accounting of all that has led us to where we are. This column has called before for a commission of inquiry into the problems that have beset power supply in past years and through to the present day. We do so again today. A government so eager to point the blame at its predecessors should have no problem with exposing the decisions that brought about the problems at BPL.

In the meantime, it’s over to you, BPL. The citizens of The Bahamas demand an end to outages and the lower bills we were promised. Will you deliver?

A deal despite Dorian

We hope the University of The Bahamas isn’t being opportunistic in blaming Hurricane Dorian and the costs it is going to have to bear in the rebuilding of its northern campus as it says no to the demands of lecturers and educators.

In any dispute between employers and employees, there is often a gap between demands and what can be delivered, and the same holds true here. The educators are seeking a lump sum payout of $3,500 and a salary increase of seven percent, the university is offering $1,000 and increases ranging from two to six percent.

The university has sniffed at the disruption to activities brought about by union action – but then that’s what union action usually results in, and probably should not be a surprise.

The reference to the northern campus is worrying, however – had the deal been done before the storm hit, where would the university have found the money for repairs then? Is it budgeting for such risks – including insurance for such possible damage?

One thing is for certain – the union has the university’s attention now. So to both sides we say sit down and find a middle ground. It has been two years since the last industrial agreement expired – so it’s time to get a new deal done. A deal won’t likely give either side all of what they’re asking for, but such is the nature of deals.

As a nation, we are proud of the many smart individuals working at the university. We are sure it is within the power to get a deal done.