As the independent regulator of the electricity sector (ES) in The Bahamas, The Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority, URCA has initiated its public consultation process on the Bahamas Power & Light Company Ltd’s, (BPL), consumer protection plan, (CPP). BPL provides electricity to over 100,000 customers in New Providence and the Family Islands.
Consistent with URCA’s vision, “Improving Lives Through Effective Utilities Regulation”, the objective of the public consultation on the CPP is to ensure that as many residents of The Bahamas, particularly those who are customers or potential customers of BPL, have an opportunity to voice their opinions, objections, pose questions and make further recommendations on any aspect of the propose plan.
The public consultation exercise mandated by the EA opened in May of this year with the posting of the draft document and URCA’s assessment on URCA’s website.
The CPP proposes standards intended to govern the manner in which BPL engages and treats its customers.
The public’s input is vital to URCA’s development and institution of effective regulations which govern the quality of service and competition in the sectors within its mandate.
During the consultation period, members of the public are invited to provide feedback regarding BPL’s standards of service, quality, and safety, as well as the proposed procedures for receiving and responding to consumers’ complaints regarding billing, power quality and service interruption.
Also open to consumer comment are standards and procedures for terminating and restarting service, including special termination and restarting procedures for vulnerable customers who are unable to pay their electric bills, but satisfy eligibility criteria for assistance.
Members of the public may download a copy of the CPP from URCA’s website at www.urcabahamas.bs or collect a copy from its office on Frederick Street, New Providence.
The consultation is a part of a larger public education awareness campaign launched in New Providence. Other outreach activities comprise appearances on talk shows and the engagement of civil society.
Family Island visits will commence in September and continue through October, covering communities in Bimini, Abaco, Crooked Island, Acklins, Inagua, Eleuthera, Exuma.
Members of the public are encouraged to provide feedback by contacting URCA’s Consumer Hotline at 393-0263; Family island residents may call the toll free line at 242 300 URCA/8722. Or by emailing email@example.com.