Staff Writer, FN News Desk
While power is being restored to the fast food restaurants, including Burger King, KFC and Pollo Tropical – owned by the Cooper family – “electricity diversions” investigations by the Grand Bahama Power Company (GBPC) continue.
The fast food restaurants’ electricity supply was disconnected on Wednesday, March 13 as a result of GBPC’s investigation findings, which now reveal that some fraudulent act may have been committed by a local businessman, who allegedly sold the owners a “fake energy saving system.”
Having released a statement and photos of the circumvented meters and energy saving system on Wednesday, March 20, GBPC officials yesterday – Thursday, March 21 – said they are concerned for the public safety and workforce as it relates to this very serious issue.
In a statement Thursday, GBPC officials had this to say: “Through the course of our recent audit investigations, it is now understood that many residents and businesses are operating under the belief that they have purchased an ‘energy saving device’ from a local electrical contractor. As Grand Bahama Power Company (GBPC) revealed on March 20 these devices are fake and a ‘smokescreen’ for electricity diversion.
GBPC is very concerned for the safety of the public and our workforce due to the fact that customers are either connected directly to GBPC’s power system via a dangerous meter bypass, or their meter system was tampered with to under-read actual usage.
Installations to divert GBPC’s electricity supply and bypass our metering infrastructure are extremely dangerous to business owners, homeowners, occupiers, our workers and the public at large. These installations do not comply with the requirements of the Building Code and, based on the diversion tactics used, it is important that GBPC ensures the equipment is isolated properly to avoid any serious loss or life- threatening damage.
Safety of the public and our workers is our first priority. Therefore, to ensure that the non-compliant installations are rectified as soon as possible GBPC has developed an emergency remediation program. We are offering this program to all businesses impacted by our audit thus far and to the public at large in order to reduce the significant public safety risk on the island.
Presently, the number of non-compliant installations are unknown to us.
We are therefore urgently asking members of the public to report any and all instances of these fake boxes in order that the dangerous installations and meter bypasses can be removed by qualified personnel. In an effort to ensure this safety issue is remediated within the shortest possible time, GBPC advises the public as follows:
1. Report the presence of the fake boxes and associated equipment to GBPC on 352-8411, toll-free at 242-300-4826 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org immediately.
2. GBPC will inspect and address any immediate safety risks. This may require a short power outage.
3. GBPC will make reasonable arrangements for customers to pay for the electricity which has been used but not metered and billed. Where GBPC and the Customer reach a satisfactory resolution, no complaint will be made to law enforcement.
CUSTOMERS ARE REMINDED TO ALWAYS USE THE SERVICES OF A LICENSED ELECTRICIAN FOR WORK ON LIVE ELECTRICAL WIRING, AND MUST HAVE THE POWER SUPPLY ISOLATED AT THE POLE OR TRANSFORMER BY GBPC TO WORK SAFELY.
GBPC is, and will continue to be, the leading advocate for the adoption of energy savings and renewable energy on the Island, and we will continue to provide our customers with the support they need to legitimately reduce their energy costs.”