On July 27, 2009, the Grand Bahama Power Company (GBPC) informed the public that we were commencing an island-wide meter audit in order to ensure the accuracy and integrity of our system. The audit is ongoing and to date we have conducted a review of all of our commercial and industrial customers and approximately 64% of our residential customers.
Of the 11,534 meters audited, the company has found 1,227 accounts of theft, and 16 cases of under billing. The audit also revealed 5 cases of overbilling which did result in repayments but in an amount significantly less than what has been reported in the press. We informed those customers, whom for confidentiality reasons we will not name, of our findings and have resolved those issues.
As a result of the audit we are confident about the security and accuracy of our meters. We will continue with our ongoing meter audit program with industrial customers being audited annually, commercial customers on a three year cycle and residential customers on an ongoing basis. We understand that our customers have concerns, especially with so much misinformation being circulated, and we will continue to communicate on a regular basis.
In response to comparisons between GBPC and Florida Power & Light (FPL), we must point out that FPL not only has 4.4 million customers in Florida with generation assets in 20 states, but also incorporates the use of nuclear power which is not an option for GBPC.
We have however, recently conducted a cost comparison of electric utilities in the Caribbean, which is an accurate benchmark based on size and geography. GBPC electricity prices are at the median – or the middle of all these utilities. While admittedly GBPC does not have the lowest electricity costs, we are certainly not the highest. Our team remains focused and working diligently on making the responsible and sustainable decisions needed to improve reliability and reduce costs to our customers.