Utilities of The Bahamas
The majority of Bahamians in New Providence and the Family Islands have their energy needs supplied by the government-owned Bahamas Electricity Corporation, while private corporations provide the residents of Freeport and Lucaya in Grand Bahama with electricity and water. In August 2013 the government released a notice of request for proposals to liberalise the energy market and grant Bahamians cheaper electricity, more efficient networks and more sustainable sources of energy thereby. Prime Minister Christie has identified PPPs as a key strategy of these reforms. In 2012, private companies such as Genting Energy and Castalia were commissioned by the government to report on The Bahamas’ energy landscape with recommendations for reducing costs. The government plans to develop a Residential Self Generation programme in the short term with longer-term strategies for the renewable power production sector subsequently beginning in 2014. The government intends to reform Bahamas Electricity Corporation into two new agencies – a transmission and distribution company (NewCo) and a generation services company (JVCo). It is seeking private bidders for each, NewCo requires a management service provider and JVCo a corporate partner to lead the generation facilities.
The government owns the Water and Sewerage Corporation, which provides all potable water on the islands, with the exception of Freeport/Lucaya on the island of Grand Bahama. This is another area identified by the government for private sector involvement.
Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) is the leading telecommunications service providing telephone, internet and wireless. It has been partly government owned since 2011 when the private corporation Cable and Wireless bought a major stake, as part of its LIME Caribbean network. In November 2013, the government’s request-for-proposal to private consultants interested in working with the state’s ‘customs and excise procedures through the acquisition of mobile communication infrastructure and equipment’ closed. The project budget was listed as US$30,000 with advisory assistance provided additionally by the Inter-American Development Bank.