Pair's electric shock leads to blackout

By SANCHESKA BROWN Tribune Staff Reporter sbrown@tribunemedia.net THOUSANDS of Bahamas Electricity Corporation customers were without electricity early yesterday morning, after two men working near power lines were electrified, according to a statement released by the company. Both men, doing work for a private company when the accident occurred, were rushed to hospital by ambulance. They were later released. The statement said the malfunction of a protective relay - which would have isolated the fault in the system - caused BEC's entire system to trip off-line. BEC apologised for the blackout and said complete island-wide restoration of power was expected before 8am on Wednesday. However, up to press time, some residents in western New Providence were still without power. BEC spokesman Arnette Wilson Ingraham confirmed the company was experiencing some issues in the West, but said crews are working to restore the electricity. "We are having some technical problems in a portion of the west, from Delaporte in the far west to the hotels in the east. At this point we do know the cause, therefore, I cannot give you an estimated time when the power will be restored," she said. Meanwhile, the two men who got an electric shock - a grandfather, 52, and his 20-year-old grandson - were released from hospital yesterday. According to a statement from BEC, the shutdown occurred shortly after midnight when the two men were working on a building in the Prince Charles Drive area. During their work, an aluminum ladder came into contact with one of BEC's 33Kv overhead lines. Both men were injured and rushed to hospital by ambulance. "In instances where contact is made to a major overhead line, a protective relay would have isolated the fault. However, in this particular situation the protective relay malfunctioned resulting in BEC's entire system tripping offline; this includes its generator units at both the Clifton Pier and Blue Hills Power Stations. BEC crews went to the site on Prince Charles and were able to repair the damaged line; however, other challenges resulted in a delay in starting the re-energization of those critical generator units. BEC explains that once units go offline, it can take some time to make them fully operational again. Further, BEC was challenged with the shutdown of all units at both its power stations," the statement said.


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