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Managers union head says ‘little to no change at BPL’

President of the Bahamas Electrical Utility Managerial Union (BEUMU) Anthony Christie said yesterday his union is concerned with the state of Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) and the direction it is headed.

When contacted for comment, Christie said the managers at the company are gravely concerned about the ability to keep the lights on during the summer along with other issues.

“The BEUMU wants the government and PowerSecure to get aligned with their plans,” Christie told The Nassau Guardian.

“Governments change, boards change, but there has been little to no change or improvement at the company.

“Decisions have to be made that will improve the operation now and not five years later.

“As it stands, none of the priority items are being addressed [in a timely fashion] as was intended and this is improvement of the reliability, reduction in energy cost and improvement in

customer service.

“The future holds a lot of uncertainty. To provide reliable service this summer will be difficult.

“There have been a number of outages already and we expect a hot summer with numerous weather incidents.”

Christie said, “The Bahamian people including myself as a customer are concerned only with power.

“It must be reliable and affordable. If that is not given then PowerSecure and the government have failed.”

Christie’s comments follow those of Bahamas Electrical Workers Union (BEWU) President Paul Maynard who on Thursday said PowerSecure was deserving of a $1.1 million performance bonus it was awarded by the Christie administration and that the company has seen great improvements under its management.

Christie said while he believes not much has changed under PowerSecure, the union cannot say whether the company deserved the bonus or not.

“We have not seen the management services agreement between them and the former government despite numerous requests,” he said.

“I would think that there are targets that they agreed to achieve in a certain timeframe and, if achieved, then they should be paid whatever was agreed to.

“If they were not paid then the government would be in breach of that agreement.”

He said, “I agree that PowerSecure came into BPL at a challenging time and has encountered numerous issues.

“They are facing the same road blocks as have previous managers.

“We need to be able to make decisions quickly and implement a plan for the future.

“The BEUMU has requested many times to see a copy of the business plan so that we can understand the direction of the company and give our support, but we have not seen it at all.

“We are not here to fight PowerSecure or ask for anything.

“We only ask to be respected and that our agreement be followed. We want to build for better.”

PowerSecure received roughly $3.1 million as a management fee in the last year, The Nassau Guardian understands.

PowerSecure’s agreement — signed with The Bahamas government last year — provides for a guaranteed management fee of $2 million a year, but the company can get up to $5 million a year, with $3 million representing a bonus.

Many customers do not view its performance as stellar, but the Christie administration agreed to provide PowerSecure with almost half of the additional $3 million it could get with a strong BPL performance.