The Nassau Guardian April 2, 2020
Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) CEO Whitney Heastie said yesterday the company has indefinitely suspended disconnections in light of the COVID-19 crisis.
The suspension was initially set to expire yesterday.
However, Heastie said BPL has extended the program until the expiration of the 24-hour curfew and other emergency orders, which were imposed by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis in an effort to curtail the spread of the virus.
“So, in concert with the government, BPL is also following suit and extending the disconnection of customers,” Heastie said while on the Guardian Radio show “The Revolution”, with host Juan McCartney.
“So, we will not be disconnecting our customers as we would have said up to April 1; now that’s going to be continued on. We are not going to be disconnecting customers.”
Asked how long halted disconnections will last, Heastie replied, “So, as long as the government says we will not disconnect, we will honor that certainly.”
He continued, “Once again, I go back to what the minister had stated that BPL ought to halt disconnections. And so, we’re halting disconnections until otherwise stated.”
Heastie said Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister has directed the company to halt disconnections.
While on the show, Heastie also noted that BPL is “an essential service” which needs “funds to be paid”.
“So, we are asking all BPL customers to do the responsible thing and certainly make payments,” he said.
“We do have a number of ways people can pay. Certainly, the phone line is 302-1130; BPL’s website, bplco.com. They can also call BPL to get assistance.
“I know we’ve been having some problems with pins resets, so people can also reach out by use of the email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.”
Additionally, Heastie said BPL payments will be deferred for a three-month period for people who have been quarantined due to the virus and people who have been laid off; those individuals would have to bring in documents proving their qualification for the deferral.
“We realize that these are certainly unprecedented times and there are challenges to our customers and so we are trying to do our part,” he said.
“But, we do ask those customers who can pay to go ahead and make payments even though there are deferred payment options available.”
He said customers who have a tough time paying their bills should come into BPL and work out a payment plan.
“We’re working and doing everything we certainly can to make sure and ease the pain of our customers through this very difficult time that we all are experiencing together,” Heastie said.