Fahy: Cost Reduction Talks With Grocer, BELCO

September 2, 2013

Government Ministers recently met with one of the leading grocery chains and BELCO to discuss reducing the costs of electricity and food items, Minister Fahy said at today’s [Sept 2] Labour Day event.

“There has been much said about shared sacrifice – and the burden of that should not be placed with only Labour,” said Minister Fahy.

“To encourage true shared sacrifice I can confirm that very recently the Deputy Premier, Michael Dunkley and I met with one of the leading grocery chains to see how we can work together to reduce prices on standard food items.

“Also, the Minister responsible for the Dept. of Energy, Minister Dr Grant Gibbons has met with BELCO to discuss how we can find ways of reducing the costs of electricity for you the consumer.

“So please know that we are working to address all of these issues to give people who are working and not working some relief in these tough economic times,” said the Minister.

In response Shadow Home Affairs Minister Walter Roban said, “We welcome the news that the Deputy Premier and Minister Fahy have begun talking to the grocery stores and BELCO about reducing the unreasonable financial burden placed on our people.

“We are however reminded of past OBA talk and broken promises. In just a few months, they have given the impression that OBA promises mean nothing and OBA talk does not equal action for anyone but an elite and privileged few.

“The OBA did not talk about scrapping term limits. They broke their promise and did it. The OBA did not talk about granting BELCO two rate increases, they just did it.

“The OBA did not talk about violating the Ministerial Code of Conduct by accepting a free jet ride and hotel stay from a foreign businessmen. They just did it.

“The OBA did not talk about breaking their promise to hire consultants. When they gave government consulting contracts to OBA insiders, friends and family. They just did it.

Mr Roban concluded, “The OBA have proven that they can move swifly from talk into action when it comes to taking care of themselves, the elite and privileged. We call on them to be as action oriented for our people as they have been for themselves.”

Minister Fahy’s full statement is below:

I am pleased to extend best wishes to you all on Labour Day.

Today is an opportunity to reflect on the personal sacrifices of those individuals who struggled to ensure that an honest day’s work was rewarded with an honest day’s pay.

It is a day when we salute the important role that our unions play in advocating for the rights of the workers.

Most importantly though, it is a day where we collectively – Government, employers, and our unions – salute each and every worker – past and present – for their contribution to Bermuda.

It is also a day to extend our support to those who are currently unemployed and looking to get back into the workforce.

We want to reassure those individuals that this Government continues to work hard on their behalf.

We recognize that Labour has played a huge part in our driving our economy and we are seeking to re-engage all Bermudians in the workforce so that you can contribute to Bermuda’s future.

You’ve heard me mention the creation of a National Training Plan, this coupled with our numerous training, re-training and development initiatives are all designed to assist those Bermudians in getting a firm footing in our workforce. This will set goals for the next ten years.

We will also be introducing a tougher regime in immigration laws to penalize employers who violate immigration law as well as new policy to ensure training programs are put in place for Bermudians.

But we understand that those of you who are unemployed need help now. We understand your struggle of trying to provide a better life for yourselves and your families. There has been much said about shared sacrifice – and the burden of that should not be placed with only Labour.

To encourage true shared sacrifice I can confirm that very recently the Deputy Premier, Michael Dunkley and I met with one of the leading grocery chains to see how we can work together to reduce prices on standard food items.

Also, the Minister responsible for the Dept. of Energy, Minister Dr Grant Gibbons has met with BELCO to discuss how we can find ways of reducing the costs of electricity for you the consumer.

So please know that we are working to address all of these issues to give people who are working and not working some relief in these tough economic times.

We continue to work towards innovative job creation solutions that get our people back to work as we work towards a common goal – jobs for all Bermudians.

From a labour relations standpoint, I think it bears repeating that I am committed to strengthening these partnerships so that we can collectively ensure that Bermudians come first and that our Country is put firmly back on course towards prosperity for all.

Recently I have been in discussions with the leader of the BIU to discuss the modernization of our current labour laws so that we can encourage innovation and direct inward investment; protect employees in corporate restructuring; clarify the work force dispute and violations regimes and clarifying recognition certification.

We will continue to have open and frank discussions to seek collaborative ways to improve the economy and grow jobs for Bermudians and to ensure a strong tripartite relationship with unions, employers and Government.

Overall, while these may not be ideal times that we are living in, we still must find collaborative ways of working together to address our common challenges.

We may have different economic theories and different approaches to how we empower the people of this Country, but our common goal and certainly the goal of this Government is to ensure that our people have the ability to live their lives freely; have the ability to work; to educate their children as they choose to; and to look forward to their golden years in comfort and dignity.

This Government aims to create an environment to return us to an era of full employment – there will be some mis-steps and we have made some – but rest assured we have the goal in mind of protecting Bermudians in their own country whilst increasing employment and opportunities for all – especially our young people. We are starting to move in the right direction.

Such goals have no Party label; those are Bermudian ideals and must be the political aims of everyone who aspires to serve the people of this Country.

I close my words today with the words of the Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Labour – the Hon Errol McLeod who said at the recent ILO Conference for Caribbean Labour Ministers – “There can be no Labour Without Development and No Development without Labour.” He is right – and together I believe we can bring back opportunity for Labour and Bermuda as a whole.

To each of you here today, it has been my genuine pleasure to share in this Labour Day tradition with you. It is my sincere hope that we can build Bermuda together, leaving no-one behind.

-

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  1. Kiddo says:

    For such a smart government shouldn’t they realize that grocery stores only set a small mark-up on foods purchased through wholesalers such as Butterfield & Vallis? Grocery stores are at the mercy of wholesalers. Which ultimately means we are at the mercy of wholesales. What is difficult to understand? Why not lead this conversation with the wholesalers instead?

    • Sorry but you are only partially correct as the large grocers bring in much more of their own goods then you think, but I do take your point about the wholesalers and they should be around the table as these talks take place, what will be interesting is by what percentage will they make the cuts and when, especially belco.

      Needless to say they will all blame government for taxes from goods received to payroll tax, then someone will have to ask about the already tax free goods that merchandisers and wholesalers already get in certain items like rice and flour. there are more everyday items that are also exempt from duty but you can find that on the government website.

      • Thanks Duane for opening the eyes of the blind…

        • Sylvia Munro says:

          Mr. Ray

          That was a very insensitive remark. It s obvious that you do not have a blind or visually Impaired child in your family, well I and several other families do. You need to apologise to these children as well as some adults

    • Impressive says:

      because it doesnt win them any political points to admit that the situation is out of their hands.. smh

    • Sapphire says:

      @Kiddo: You’re correct and I was going to say the same thing. Now, the ironic thing is that Dunkley’s is a major wholesaler as well. They don’t just make money by selling milk…they bring in meats, cookies, snacks, drinks-you name it. Is Dunkley’s willing to be part of that sacrifice as well???

    • Concerned Citizen says:

      Wait a minute……isn’t Mike Dunkley a MAJOR food wholesaler on the island or does he just sell milk? And I’m not sure what can be discussed, but I will await the OBA next move on this matter. ANY Government discussion with business will be interference which will be a disaster! Don’t tell me price controls are on the table? No way? But then again, neither is competition under the OBA, so I guess this is a joke after all! Smh

  2. CBA says:

    With all respect to Mr Roban, the PLP constantly did things without asking the people. Actually, the PLP did things without asking their OWN ministers. Do we recall the Uigher situation? Do we recall the gaming bill that was introduced without most of the MPs in the House? Point being, the people aren’t stupid and we don’t forget what happened just a few years ago! Don’t throw stones if you live in a glass house.

    • CommonSensenBda says:

      It’s not a glass house, more like a house of cards.

  3. Lebron says:

    Labour Day has to be the least loved of all the public holidays, I’ve just had my summer break and I actually want to be a work and this comes along.

  4. Truth (Original) says:

    Wow.

    Mr Roban, do you actually believe anything you said or is this mere politics ? And if you do believe it, how do you rationalize your criticisms of the OBA against your own Party’s RECENT history?

    That kind of mental disconnect is scary to me. I am thankful to the OBA for trying to dig Bermuda out of the hole that the PLP put us in.

    • Impressive says:

      the whole that began appearing in 2008 as a result of the fallout in the american housing market and the effect it had on investments, futures, swaps etc. that hole you mean.. No one talks about the fact that from 1998 to 2008, the economy was growing at an outstanding rate.. just saying.. tell the whole story please

      • Sandy Bottom says:

        So, you think the PLP was totally responsible for the success when jobs increased, but in no way responsible for the failure when we lost 5,000 jobs.

        • CommonSensenBda says:

          Sandy, that is their motto,
          Everything positive = That was because of US
          Everything negative = That wasn’t our Fault

          Don’t they remind you adolescent children?

          • yesman says:

            The PLP have admitted numerous times that during their tenure mistakes were made, so I don’t see how you can say they are like adolescent children with your formula. No political party is perfect not even the over hyped OBA nor the UBP. There is no magic bullet solution for Bermuda as the OBA have claimed in their speeches.

            I still don’t understand why this has to be a OBA vs PLP bashing segment every time. Can’t everyone put their ideas together to make Bermuda a better place?

  5. Sad says:

    Premier Cox promised the same thing.

    We shall see I guess

  6. sml says:

    Wow, that would be nice. My Belco bill for a household of 2 people is $750.52 for August. AS for grocery stores I find Lindo’s to be cheaper than the Marketplace. I have compared prices over the years between the 2 stores and Lindo’s always comes out on top. A lot of people believe Marketplace prices are better but not always. Their specials are good.

    • margeI says:

      market place has to many shope rite products they suck.

    • Thunder Man says:

      I have a household of 6 people. My belco is about 250 a month. Try not consuming so much. Air conditioning is a perk not a necessity , and I work in the sun all day. Fans are much cheaper to run. I agree, Lindo’s is cheaper and they put a lot back into the community too.

      • Not Surprised says:

        I have to agree with SML. I also have a household of 2 people and Everyday Before I leave for work I unplug everything but my fridge. I only run an AC one at a time depending what room I’m in but mostly fans. My bill was close to $600. So I understand and can believe it for sure. I smell a rat with this price and have a feeling that the apartments next door may be on my bill. SML this may also be the case for you. Will be turning everything off at the fuse box from now on. A high belco bill has become the norm. :(

    • It Wasn't Me says:

      @SML: I agree about Lindo’s. Like many, I bought into that urban legend that Lindo’s was more expensive than Marketplace-they’re not! I’ve compared prices as well and most of the items were cheaper at Lindo’s-and the items were so substantially cheaper that those savings carried over into the items that were not cheaper…so overall, I find I get better value for my money at Lindo’s. A couple of weeks ago I was in Lindo’s and I overheard two elderly gentlemen talking and they were talking about how they used to shop at Marketplace but found Lindo’s cheaper.

      Also-and I’m going to sound like I’m getting paid by Lindo’s but I’m not-the overall shopping experience is MUCH better at Lindo’s. The staff are super friendly and helpful and it just has an overall good vibe there. Plus everything is super clean and fresh-I know I’m not buying half rotten fruit and produce that wastes my money when I have to throw it away before getting a chance to use it. Also, it’s nice the way Lindo’s takes an interest in the community.

      Marketplace could do a LOT more…they make a boatload of money and they mark up their prices like every week, I swear! You go there and there are like a million price stickers on items where they just mark up like crazy. I only stop there now to buy a few items as I live really close to a MP store, but other than that, I refuse to do my weekly shopping there!

      • Sheriff says:

        @ It Wasn’t Me…my sentiments exactly… The deli group are a very friendly bunch especially the ladies..The meat counter gents always have something prepared and well presented in the case.. The cashiers remember your face and really welcome you with a small convo at check-out. All around the store in the aisles you find friendly people, willing to assist if need be. More variety, the meats, fruits, and veggies are all super fresh…. AND THE STORE IS CLEAN!

    • It Wasn't Me says:

      @sml: Also, a $750 Belco bill sounds like a lot! How big is your house? It must be pretty big for your bill to be that high. I live in a three-bedroom apartment with four people (including two teens who don’t do much to conserve energy!), with big screen t.v.’s, three computers that we use a lot, air conditioning, etc. etc. (plus I cook practically every day) and my Belco bill never goes over $400 a month-most of the time it’s in the $350 range.

    • Double Standards says:

      My August bill was $541 for a three bedroom house, which houses 4 people, and that was primarily due to our air conditioning use during the summer.

      During the winter months (no air conditioning) it averages betwen $300 and $350.

      Not saying BELCO isn’t a rip off, because they are and are getting worse IMO, but you really need to learn how to conserve your electricity consumption a little better.

  7. Chaos Theory says:

    Roban – this was supposed to be a celebration of Labour, not a PLP political platform. I really can’t think of one thing positive you have said recently.

  8. Same old same old says:

    Stick your undying negativity up your @$$ Roban. No one cares what you think!

  9. js says:

    the best way to reduce grocery costs is to plant your own garden and to harvest your own eggs

    individual Bermudians need to go back to independent subsistent farming until a equitable economy has been created

    an economy not solely reliant on foreign labour, capital and job creation

  10. Toodle-oo says:

    A pittance of a drop in BELCO or a few ‘select’ grocery items is not going to cut it.

    Not when 65% of the population is paying 3-400% more for rent the what the places are worth .
    Look at the on line listings . Landlords are steadfast in going for every last cent that they can get. So much so I was socked to see that according to the last consumer’s price index rents had actually gone up despite the fact that thousands of places stand empty !

    Until the cost of housing goes down to affordable and sustainable levels nothing else is going to improve. When the average working person is loosing between half and three quarters of their monthly wage (if they still have one) on rent alone , not even factoring in yet utilities and food , the dial hasn’t even really begun to be reset yet .

    • yesman says:

      In order to bring the price of rent down, everybody needs to agree to bring their prices down in all industries.

      If banks in Bermuda didn’t lend out money at 8% interest and if the cost of a house wasn’t 1 million plus people could break even much quicker and rent their houses out for cheaper.

      Have you ever tried to renovate a house before? Have you priced tile and cabinets in Bermuda? Do you know how much it costs to pay a mason, electrician or plumber?

      Have you priced appliances in Bermuda like stoves and fridges or how about light fixtures? The material costs and labor costs in Bermuda are very high compared to other jurisdictions.

      Fahy needs to encourage the entire island to bring their prices down. When this happens people will actually spend more and the economy will become stimulated again.

      • Toodle-oo says:

        + In order to bring the price of rent down, everybody needs to agree to bring their prices down in all industries.+

        I’m so glad someone understands that.

        The prices for all related services went through the roof when the providers all saw what property owners were starting to get when the greed/IB thing kicked in in the early 80′s

        It’s hard to fathom that most people are still ragging on about BELCO and groceries as if even a 20% drop is going to make much difference.

        Wonder how that $10 a gallon of gas affects the price of everything ? They all seem to forget about that too.

        And I wonder how many companies would love to fill entry level non skilled job positions for $500 a week ? Problem is , the entry level worker can’t afford the job with ‘entry level rent’ of a 200 square foot studio (aka converted garage) without an assessment number for $1500 per month.
        So what does the job advertiser have to do if he wants the position filled ? What then happens to the price of his goods or services ?

        It’s ALL connected to the outrageous cost of housing.

      • Sandy Bottom says:

        So in your mind if belco and all food importers, and all building materials importers, and all tradesmen, and all appliance retailers operated at a loss, then everyone would start to spend money? That’s the solution?

        Let me guess. You never studied economics did you.

        • yesman says:

          Sandy Bottom, you’ve missed out on the point that if prices were lower demand would also increase. If loans were more attractive and the cost of construction was lower I’m quite sure the demand for new construction would be higher. This in turn would create economic stimulation. You should know this concept quite well especially if you are well versed in economics and studied it at the undergraduate or graduate level.

          Bottom line is the cost of construction per sq ft in Bermuda is unattractive for foreign investment whether its tourism or international business related. We’ve in a sense completely out priced ourselves.

      • CommonSensenBda says:

        Isn’t it surprising how all these demands are being foisted upon the OBA but how many of you suck-rocks didn’t **** & Moan about any of these things when the PLP was the goverment. Prices were high under the UBP…. how many of you **** were **** and Moaning then?
        When the PLP was the government, why didn’t you **** & Moan then as ell? Did you insist that the “People’s government change the “unfair system then?
        Did they change anything from the “European slave mentality System” that they had been complaining about since the 60′s……NOOOO! But now, everything is supposed to be paradise, and if the OBA doesn’t make it paradise with the next 3 months, they will be accused of FAILING the Bermudian people should be FORCEABLY removed from office. I don’t recall them pledging at any time to bring Paradise to the Island.

        • Mazumbo says:

          I think I remember seeing a (vote for jobs) campaign and someone mentioned 2000 jobs and every month people are losing their jobs??????????????????

    • Mayan says:

      @Toodle-oo: Yes, some landlords are greedy but for many, they have HUGE mortgage payments. If I have a $7,000 monthly mortgage am I going to rent my apartment out for $1,000 to help the next guy and then work like a slave to make up the $6,000 difference…or am I going to try and get as much money as I can to help me and my family out? if I can get someone to pay even half of that, of course I’m going to take it.

      How deep does this rabbit hole go? Maybe we should blame the banks for the high rents…are they giving mortgage holders a reasonable rate of interest so their payments will be smaller or are the BANKS determined to get as much money as they can get? Maybe the finger needs to be pointed at the banks instead of the homeowner who just wants to make sure he gets these payments made for the next twenty years so the bank doesn’t come and take his home back…and if it means charging high rents so he can do that, so be it.

      Where does it end? The banks, Belco, supermarkets, etc. just don’t care about the common man in the street-they care about making huge dividends for their shareholders, that’s it!

  11. Hey says:

    Roban, why the hate, right off the bat!. They are meeting to discuss ways forward for the benefit of Bermudians. What the hell have you done recently that is good for all Bermudians. Wait, wasn’t it him on radio who said if the PLP was in power, we would have had a referndum on gaming by now? The PLP was in power for 14 years…..that and the one on independence NEVER happened.

  12. Rick Olson says:

    We lower the cst of transportation the problem is solved hopefully on the way soon from what I am hearing.

  13. Come On Man says:

    Belco cut the cost for Grocery Stores and it will be transferred to the regular consumer. The residential customer.

  14. SoMuchMore says:

    Ronan, I too was for the oba last election because the party you represent showed thst they where only for themselves.

    Now for the oba I am not too happy with their stance on things but I still give them more credit than the pee l pee.

    Go back to the drawing board, review what your party done wrong, admit it and move in the right direction. Don’t pick at the oba when you and your party done worse.

    Politricks. Something I stay the hell out off. All sinners. Lol

  15. Terry says:

    Puppets being told what to say and incite.
    Evil hands.

  16. Watching says:

    The OBA are jokers. Since the election the OBA has given BELCO 2 increase in their rates. Now they are saying they want to Talk with Belco to get rates reduced.

  17. Impressive says:

    I know its not a car parts are not a necessity and I accept the fact that driving a car is a priviledge etc. so I guess if I start complaining about the costs of car parts in Bermuda I might seem a little insensitive as some people are struggling with more desperate needs.. HOWEVER, it is no way that the car dealerships and sellers of car parts should be allowed to price their goods the way they do, its no way.. I know they have to markup their goods to cover transportation to the market place, taxes, wages etc. but its no way they should be charging the prices they do.. what is the role of the Consumer Affairs Office if these things are allowed to continue.

    the other day, i was pulling down some old car freshener strings from around my rear view mirror, and unfortunately I pulled down the entire bracket and needed a new rear view mirror. I took a drive town expecting to pay no more than $50 for a mirror to see in the back of me (sarcasm), the service was bad, once they even acknowledged I was there after about 5 minutes of looking at them look at their computers. They quoted me a price of $179 for a mirror, I thought that was alot, my friend was coming to Bermuda the next week so I asked her to pick up one from me from a ford dealer in baltimore. she got the same mirror for $22.55. someone help me here!!!!

    that is only one example, that is theft in my eyes, why dont they lock up the owners of these companies for theft, I know I am a “voluntary” victim, but they are taking us for granted and its not right at all..

    I can give you many more outrageous examples, smdh

    • Gypsy Mama says:

      You are in no way insensitive. Car dealers in Bermuda do what they want, because they can.

      All goods need to be regulated. Or Bermudians – such as myself – will continue to live elsewhere, while vacationing in Bermuda.

      • Sandy Bottom says:

        Are all goods regulated where you live? If yes, where? Cuba?

        • Gypsy Mama says:

          No. But some movement is better than no movement.

          As I like to say, “Welcome to Bermud

        • Gypsy Mama says:

          No, all goods are not regulated where I live.

          But some movement is better than no movement.

          • Sandy Bottom says:

            What goods exactly are regulated where you live?

            Are car dealers, since that’s the example you raised?

      • JB says:

        ….so if you live elsewhere, your electricity bill of never being over $100 for a family of 2 and one child refers to which country ?

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Gotcha beat on that one. Over $125 for a door opener cable about a foot long.

      Actually the mirror does not sound too bad. A truck mirror, in the US, with all the power stuff in it cost me $350 not long ago.

    • yesman says:

      That is sickening to know that dealerships are in a sense stealing from people. It’s a shame.

  18. Robert says:

    This government better prove themselves and soon, they promised to be the antidote to all the PLP poison. So far all i see is the same old same ole. They spoke today, and they spoke well, butvi cannot believe a word that fell from their faces !!! They are for big business and big business alone.

  19. Robert says:

    After the march they disappeared like night to the daylight !!!

  20. Gypsy Mama says:

    I am curious, which grocer has been selected?

    Lindo’s and Harrington Hundreds are the leading suppliers of GOOD food on the island. Moreover, they are locally owned.

    To approach either of the two would be a genuine gesture. Demonstrating a true concern for the betterment of Bermudian lifestyle.

    Any other option would be less productive, as it would only increase the purchasing of sub-standard food stuffs, thereby facilitating a continuation of the pervasive issue of unhealthy eating in the island of Bermuda, and possibly leading to an increase in diseases long thought to be race-specific (i.e. diabetes, obesity).

  21. Trumpety Trump says:

    For someone to have a $750 bill for a house of two people – you are doing something very very wasteful. My bill is never ever over $250 – and it is a house of 2 people. Are your aircons on in every room 24/7?

    You only have yourself to blame and you are obviously clueless on how to save electricity. Very soory for you

    • Gypsy Mama says:

      And my household of two adults and one child has never gone above $100.

      (We keep the windows open in the summer, and double up on duvets in the winter!)

      • Albert says:

        I don’t believe for a second that your electricity bill has never gone over $100 unless you Iive in a studio apartment without a tv, water heater, toaster, radio, etc..

  22. Jim Bean says:

    Is Roban capable of saying anything other than total bs?

  23. Norris Alvin Williams says:

    Well if you expect government to do something about the high cost of living you are whisling in the wind. After all isn’t that is where the government gets a high portion of it’s tax. As for BELCO this same government allowed it to raise it’s rates; a move it recently did on the eve of Cup-Match while everbody’s eye was on the holdiday.
    As for the cost of food believe it or not that is in our hands. If we stop loading up our gorcey carts like there is a famine on the way; than we would get some where. They know we are not serious; but what if we did an island wide thing and said ; allright if you don’t bring down the cost of food; we will not buy meat this week. or next week it’s won’t be cod fish and how about a liguor or soda boycott for a week. They would soon get the message and they would know that we are serious about bringing down the high cost of living in Bermuda.

    • Gypsy Mama says:

      Insightful, and well put.

      It will take collective action to create change.

      • Sandy Bottom says:

        Here’s an idea for collective action.

        Why doesn’t the BIU use its funds to start a supermarket. It could employ unionised Bermudians, charge whatever prices it wants, sell whatever it wants. And I’m sure its members would buy there. It would be a great success. Show us all how it’s done.

        I ‘ve suggested this a dozen times. Oddly, all I get is silence.

    • yesman says:

      1. Hi there Norris. The Energy Commission approves Belco rates and can either approve or deny them. Not the Government or Dept. of Energy. The energy commission consists of everyday people like yourself making decisions on the best interest of the Bermudian public.

      2. If Belco submits for an increased rate with good reason. It’s difficult to deny the rate giving the fact that they could downsize to become more efficient. The Bermuda economy does not need more layoffs. We need more jobs and increased spending.

      3. Renewables are not yet sustainable when compared to fossil fuels and the ROI is not quite were it needs to be so that Belco could reach commercialization. Some may argue this point, but if there was a magic bullet commercial energy renewable system that was profitable I’m sure Belco would be in negotiations as we speak.

  24. Kathy says:

    I don’t understand why there isn’t a REVOLUTION in Bermuda against BELCO and the government’s Department of Energy…we need to demand that this government invests HEAVILY in renewables. Imagine how much the total electricity bill is for the government alone each month.

    Now, picture the government installing solar panels on the roofs of all of it’s buildings. You can now buy solar panels for the sides of southern facing buildings, if you don’t want to see the Bermuda roof destroyed. We need to get off our butts and start making an energy revolution happen! It all starts with the government and each individual household. Perhaps, they can then put the government savings into individual homeowner incentives. This will help everyone in the long-run. Instead of renovating your kitchen, buy solar panels! Remember, whoever is last holding the barrel of oil is going to pay HEAVY for it! Pure economics!

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Let us know where to get those free solar panels which will last & put us in contact with somebody who will install them for free too please.

    • Youngster says:

      @Kathy you obviously haven’t read the Energy White paper. Dept of Energy hasthe right policies, the political will and legislation for implementation has failed.

  25. Lazy says:

    Almost forgot. Remember, a few years ago when Belco gave back a million dollars to the public. Like, who did they initially take the million from.
    Take ten from the public and give back one and make yourselves out to be the good guy. Yeah!!

  26. Come On Man says:

    For some reason I don’t trust that Fahy guy. It seems that he can be deceptive.

  27. media says:

    For some reason I trust that Fahy guy. It seems that he can be very straightforward.

  28. Cisco Kid says:

    Unfortunately, there is little BELCO can do to reduce their rates as they have chosen to power our islands using one of the most expensive fuels available (oil) and the Government has not given them any incentive whatsoever to switch to cheaper more sustainable sources of energy. The fuel adjustment mechanism allows BELCO to continually pass on the ever-increasing cost of oil to electricity consumers. The only time their revenue & profits are affected is when people conserve energy or close their businesses because it is too expensive, as we have seen over the past couple of years.

    Perhaps one of the few constructive steps BELCO could take almost immediately to help homes on lower incomes would be to reduce/eliminate their criminally high $33/month connection fee, which hits those on lowest incomes the hardest. Even if you use no electricity whatsoever, you still have to pay $33 a month ($396/year) for each electricity meter. This is one of the highest fixed connection fees in the world – this fee could be eliminated and the lost revenue simply recouped through a small increase in the per kWh cost, allowing those who conserve energy to really minimize their bills.

    Frustratingly, despite years of consistent industry forecasts predicting escalating oil prices and decreasing prices for renewable energy, little has been done between Government and BELCO to reduce our dependence on costly imported oil.

    Fortunately, the payback on solar is now very fast (5-7 years) and as hundreds of homes install systems across the island (at an ever-increasing rate) the generation of electricity is becoming democratized as individual homeowners generate their own power for about 1/3 the cost of BELCO.

    @Triangle Drifter: I believe some of the local solar companies offer zero-down financing for solar systems, so you get the system installed for no up-front cost and use SOME of the money you save to pay off the loan and you keep the rest yourself as savings. Once the loan is paid off, you get free solar energy for a decade or two, or probably more based on the lifetime of existing systems. If you are a solar skeptic, then just ask one of the hundreds of homeowners who have already installed these systems :)

    If you have an existing mortgage with either BNTB or HSBC, they should also allow you to add the cost of a solar energy system to your mortgage. At $6,000-$20,000 depending on how big a system you need, the increase in your monthly mortgage payments is far less than the amount you save on your electric bill, so this is also a way to get solar panels with effectively no up-front cost and take advantages of the savings they can offer.

    If you rent, that’s tough luck on the solar front but most homes should be able to get their bill down to about $90 base plus about another $30-50 per person by taking a little time to study their energy use, getting an energy audit done and taking common-sense steps to make their place more efficient (LED/CFL lighting, avoid excessive A/C use, check water heater temp is not too high). Alternatively, why not approach your landlord and make an arrangement for them to install a solar system and for you to pay them instead of BELCO (at a reduced rate, which will be possible due to the far lower cost of solar energy).

    Solar works financially in the USA where electricity is a fraction of the cost it is in Bermuda, so you can be damn sure it works financially in Bermuda.

    • I bet you and others dont realize that in a power outage your solar panels will not supply you with electricity, and that a main solar panel site would still need backup generators in the case of bad weather or cloudy days, just think of all the rain we had in the past month and you will realize that solar is not the be all end all, and Belco are steadily working on new engines and power supply, such as natural gas, but it is going to cost millions of dollars to install. Belco is a regulated industry and cannot raise their rates as they like, Try going around your house and see how you can reduce your electricity bill yourself, I think you would be very surprised how much you will reduce your monthly bill.

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        What happens when the sun goes down every day. Where is the power coming from for the next 12 hours? I know it must come from all of those free batterys & all of those free inverters to convert that DC power into AC power. Of course that is all going to work wonderfully because those not only have those free panels produced enough power for day needs, they have produced power for night needs too.

        Dreamers!!!!!

        No, the way of the future will be natural gas. The US railroad industry is taking the lead converting from the diesel that powers their huge freight train engines to natural gas. Natural gas powered buses are getting common in cities all over.

  29. Cisco Kid says:

    Big up Kathy – great ideas, you get my vote :)

    Be great to see MORE POSITIVE SUGGESTIONS such as this on these comments sections. Lets pull together as a community and try to make Bernews a forum for CONSTRUCTIVELY sharing ideas and suggestions rather than negative comments!

    Government installing more renewables would be a great long-term investment, would put Bermudians back to work, reduce our fossil fuel dependency, reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, would save the Government money (even if carefully financed) – there’s no reason not to do this, and many other Government’s have. The US Consulate even beat us to it – how embarrassing is that?! :)

    One love Bermuda.

  30. Frank says:

    So Belco and local Supermarkets should not make a profit? How can anyone any Government make a private company reduce there mark-ups? Its called free enterprise. Shop the specials from each store thru the island and you will save about 20%.

    • yesman says:

      Our economic system is not a free market it’s a mixed economy. The Bermuda govt. through legislation (i.e. The Energy Act. 2009) created the Energy Commission which can either approve or deny Belco rates.

      Government can still regulate in some but not all instances. This is particularly done when there are monopolies in certain industries to protect the consumer.

  31. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    We make it and you spend it.

    At last count, I determined that there were 25 different taxes on the books and that is the thin end of the wedge.
    We pay more to license a vehicle than any other country on the planet
    and we don’t even have a Navy. Tax on gas is another one that is near the top of the list.
    What y’all going to do about the Atlantic holiday camp.

  32. Kiskadee says:

    I used to shop in Market Place but no longer. Their prices go up every week and produce is not always fresh. Although Lindos is better it is still not reasonably priced. Their fruit and vegetable prices are very high and prices in Devonshire are higher than the Warwick store . Food brought in from England has 1 pound (sterling ) on the package which is the equivalent of about $1.50 yet they charge $6 . That is a very big mark up. A box of cereal is $7 and a loaf of bread is also nearly $7. Lindos now bring in Presidents Choice cookies but well over $5 for a box of cookies is ridiculous.. The supermarket owners on this island must be billionaires .

    • Truth is killin' me... says:

      @Kiskadee: They are…and a new wholesaler is going to open up at Oleander’s in Southampton and watch what happens to White’s in Warwick!

    • Albert says:

      Cereal comes into Bermuda duty free….try to justify the high price of a box of cereal!

    • yesman says:

      Highway robbery! That’s stealing from your own countrymen. All the grocery stores are agreeing to disagree.

  33. Lazy says:

    Our condo security light bill break-down is: electricity used $ 11.66
    Meter rental $ 33 Fuel adjustment $ 13.69. Renting the meter is 3 times as much as the electricity used.