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Bahamas hoteliers want relief from government on high energy prices

The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association, BHTA, says hoteliers are planning to meet with Bahamas Power and Light, BPL, to discuss ways to mitigate the effects of the increased fuel surcharge for hotels and large property owners.

President of the association Robert Sands said they would be discussing a possible tax break of some sort for hotels in the future, among other considerations.

“I can tell you that the industry has set up a meeting with the leadership of BPL,” Sands told reporters. “That meeting is taking place in fact next week Monday and therefore we have presented a number of discussion points with them and we’re looking forward to that meeting taking place at that time.”

Earlier in October, Prime Minister Philip ‘Brave’ Davis announced that for BPL customers who consume less than 800 kilowatt hours of electricity, the fuel charge the fuel charge would increase by $0.2 cents per kWh, “which will result in an increase this quarter of less than $20 per month.”

For those consuming more than 800 kWh, the increase would be $4.3 cents per kWh.

“I want to note here that we will raise the VAT ceiling from $300 to $400, so going forward, no VAT will be due on any electricity bills under $400, which will take some of the sting out of the 4.3 cent increase for a great many BPL consumers subject to the larger increase,” Davis said then.

Sands told reporters that BHTA would be proposing ideas to mitigate the effects of the rise in the fuel surcharge to BPL executives next week.

“We talked about the progress in terms of alternative energy formats, etcetera. We talked about the opportunities for looking at a number of the variables that impact the cost of electricity to a number of properties such as the peak demand charge and also the fuel surcharge,” he said.

“And then we will also be speaking about the reliability certainly within Family Island properties etcetera going forward. I do not want to pre-empt the discussion with BPL because they have welcomed our discussion and our advocacy group to address these issues with them next week.”

Asked by reporters if there may be discussion about a possible tax break of some sort for hotels, in the future, Sands reiterated: “I do not want to pre-empt what may be the outcome, but all of those equations are on the table.”

“The hotel sector represents some of the top customers of The Bahamas of BPL. I would suggest that we represent maybe more than 20 or 30 per cent of their total income,” he said.


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