The following statement was released today (Aug 11), by One Bermuda Alliance MP & Shadow Minister for Home Affairs & Legal Affairs, Scott Pearman…

The conclusion by Bermuda’s Regulatory Authority (RA) that Belco has been actively misleading the public about the newly built North Power Station is extremely concerning for the whole of our Island community, and not merely those living in the vicinity of the Station.   

The simple fact is that issues with Belco affect all of us.  Belco has a near-monopoly on Bermuda’s energy provision.  This monopoly will continue until energy alternatives mature. 

For Bermuda’s independent energy Regulator to formally caution Belco – as the RA did earlier this week – is virtually unprecedented, at least at this level in the energy space. 

Sadly, issues with Belco are not new.  Resident groups and the Bermuda Clean Air Coalition have been critical of smoke, soot, noise, and other emissions from Belco escaping into surrounding neighbourhoods for years.  When meeting with one resident group, a Belco neighbour shared with me the accompanying photo showing orange soot on his roof.   

Would you tolerate this debris on your roof? 

And where is the Government on all of this?   

The Burt Administration has been near silent when it comes to issues with Belco.  When the Minister for the Environment released a press statement last month, the PLP Government assured the public that: ‘tank drinking water from the soot-affected roofs met the drinking water standards and the WHO guidelines’.  Take another look at that picture.  Would you drink tank water from that roof?  Would you want to wash in that? 

Now the Minister seeks to wash his hands of the matter, saying it is an issue for the RA.  Yet it is the Government that is responsible for our environmental health. 

To add insult to injury, the PLP Government has also terminated Bermuda’s decades-long air-quality testing project, involving the world-renowned Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS) – apparently citing the $230,000 cost as prohibitive.   

Perhaps Belco might like to fund the Bios Project to give our community greater comfort about our air-quality?  Even better, why not expand the project to install Bios-monitored air quality testing in the neighbourhoods surrounding Belco? 

The Government needs to get a grip on these serious issues.  We need leaders who believe Government is about more than just getting re-elected.  We need principled leadership and action to solve our Island’s problems.