Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands, December 5th, 2008 - At the request of the Premier Hon. Michael Misick and his Cabinet, a meeting was held with PPC Executives to have a dialogue on the current status of the utility business, to review PPC's present and future plans and to discuss options that can be offered to residents to assist them as they cope with the current economic climate.
"I called this meeting with PPC in response to the rising concerns expressed by the community" the Premier said.
"Overall the meeting was a very positive one. Our team was happy that we had the opportunity to meet with the Premier and his Cabinet today, to share with them all of what PPC is doing in the Turks & Caicos Islands and to obtain their input", PPC's CEO Eddinton Powell commented.
Various topics were discussed including the Fuel Factor, the Environment, Streetlights, Development of Belonger employees, Capital Expansion Plans, Revenue Protection i.e. bill payment plans for delinquent accounts, Demand Side Management as well as a review of possible initiatives that could be implemented in the short term to assist customers.
The PPC team provided an update on each area, advising the Cabinet that the fuel factor rate has dropped over 30% since September and thus customers will see a further reduction in their electricity bills for the remainder of the year; Streetlights are currently being repaired and will be completed shortly; the company is implementing a comprehensive environmental management system in early 2009 which will lead to the appointment of a full time environmental officer. Mr. Powell gave a brief overview of some of the capital expansion plans including generation expansion, distribution and transmission upgrade, and the building of a new corporate and customer service facility.
One of the initiatives discussed was to work with residential customers (in particular those who were recently disconnected for non-payment), on a payment plan so their service can be reconnected. However, it was agreed that conditions have to be put in place which customers will be required to comply with in order to qualify for the plan and to stay on same. Customers will be required to pay their current bill and must be consistent with their payments while on the plan. Payments must also be timely. Customers whose service has been recently disconnected should contact PPC's Credit Control Department to discuss a payment plan.
At the end of the meeting, it was agreed that PPC and the Cabinet should meet on a regular basis to discuss updates on the industry and ongoing plans. "The PPC team was able to re-assure my government that they are promptly passing on the savings from the recent reduction in fuel prices to customers and that there should be further significant reductions in bills over the next few months" the Premier noted. "We will continue to monitor PPC to ensure this happens".
The premier and members of Cabinet will be visiting the Power Plant on Leeward Highway in the near future to view ongoing capital and environmental projects.