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Residents Angry Over Power Cut

By SANCHESKA BROWN

Tribune Staff Reporter

sbrown@tribunemedia.net

RESIDENTS suffered an island-wide blackout after a circuit linking the Clifton Pier Power station and Windsor Field substation failed early yesterday morning.

Although electricity was partially restored by mid-day, thousands of Bahamas Electricity Corporation customers continued to experience power outages and electricity surges throughout the day.

In a statement, BEC said investigations into the outages are continuing.

“Initial findings suggest that the initial outage was caused by a system fault from a 33kv overhead circuit linking the Clifton Pier Power station and Windsor Field substation. The outage occurred at 4:39am and BEC teams were immediately dispatched. By 5:39am supply was restored to the first set of customers. The entire system was completely restored by 8:15am,” the statement said.

“Unfortunately, subsequent to this morning’s outage BEC experienced another setback when two of its engines at Clifton Pier tripped offline.  One of those engines has been brought back on. The remaining unit was expected to be back on within the next 48 hours. At present, approximately 2 per cent of customers remain without supply. However, the Corporation is hoping to have supplies completely restored by later this afternoon.”

Assistant General Manager Shevonn Cambridge said the initial outage stressed the system and caused the subsequent outages.

“At 5pm, we were 95 per cent restored. What happened is we were experiencing challenges with one of the units at the Baillou Hill plant and a number of other issues came out of that outage, that was the original outage,” he said.

“That caused some stress on our system and that resulted in issues with our generators. Most of the fleet is up and running. One unit will take more than 24 hours to repair, but we expect to have significant power by the end of the day.”

Angry BEC customers vented their frustrations on social network sites most of them calling for the government to finally do something about the constant power outages.

One person said: “Every two to three minutes the power is going off. This is ridiculous. When is the government going to fix the problem? I swear, I am going to eat tuna for a year to save up and buy a generator.”

Another person said: “I hate BEC. I been in Missouri almost three years and the power only dipped once. Almost been in a tornado and power stayed on. In the Bahamas, power cuts off if too much mosquito in the air.”

Comments

Tarzan 6 years, 1 month ago

The government must get out of the power business. BEC should be privatized as quickly as possible. No government can run a business. This fact has been demonstrated throughout the civilized world. Such enterprises only serve to further the personal interests of corrupt politicians. It is nearly criminal that the PLP is now "trying" to reverse the privatization of the formerly government run mobile carrier in the Bahamas. For the same reasons the government should get out of the media business. This is a national embarrassment and makes the Bahamas look like a Chavez style Banana Republic.

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concernedcitizen 6 years, 1 month ago

true talks tarzan ,and if we keep going with these bloated gov corps we will be greece .we have used the public sector to absorb our irresponsible sexual habits ,ie single mother of 6 at 25 yrs old ,married man with 4 outside children ,it is a mathmatical equation that can,t continue ,1 in 4 people working for gov ,thats why our taxes and fees are so high

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jackflash 6 years, 1 month ago

We had an outage here in Freeport yesterday in a thunderstorm. Last Saturday in clear weather we had an outage and some people lost one leg of power coming into thier house. Not good for appliances. My house in Abaco has burned up three fridges because of dips in power. Now I have a surge protector at the breaker box. Cost me $600 instaled but better then buying fridge, TV, etc.

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paul_vincent_zecchino 6 years, 1 month ago

Jacknash - Smart move, buying the surge protector. We've had customers in the USA in the northeast whose electronics were wiped out by surges caused by a nearby heavy A/C unit in an office building. They're a wise investment regardless where one lives.

With us down here, the tropics and near tropics, lightning usually doesn't hit power lines but instead it can cause the third-leg ground wire voltage which should be zero to instead rise well above 'ground voltage'. Surges flow from ground backward thru electronic devices, killing them instantly.

It wasn't so much of a problem when appliances were built robust electromechanical devices and when TV's and radios were built around tube circuits, but chips and transistors are just sand, glass, and it takes little in the way of excess voltage to pop them.

Smart move on your part.

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ChefSmith 6 years, 1 month ago

How is it when Batelco have a net work problem , they do a damage control and give something back some sort of compensation , no matter how small the amout is ! When can we see similiar from BEC . More over for all the money BEC makes why are we still having these problems . BEC is a cash cow........the money is not been invested back into the developement of the company . When you have too many Cheifs and no enough Indians thats what happen. Realisticly >>>>thats why Batelco have to be spending so much on upgrades , yet everyone point a finger. I tell you what if we want to see some competition , and better service , let Batelco stay with Lime .

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sansoucireader 6 years, 1 month ago

When your power is off your meter stops running. BEC only bills you for when the meter is running. BEC won't compensate you when the power is off because they aren't collecting any revenue then either.

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HarryWyckoff 6 years, 1 month ago

Until BEC learns to do pro active maintenance, instead of nothing but re active maintenance, nothing will ever change.

Sadly, though pretty much every other business in the universe knows this is a basic concept to grasp, while BEC remains a safe option for a cushy government job, with zero competition, and zero inventive do actually perform its duties, it's unlikely that anything will ever change.

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paul_vincent_zecchino 6 years, 1 month ago

Agree. FPL routinely surveys all lines and poles to check for corroded and loose harware, bad grounds, RF interference, and anything which could cause power outages. Saves a lot of headaches.

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paul_vincent_zecchino 6 years, 1 month ago

Well it's irksome but it's not the end of the world, is it? Comparisons to power reliability in Missouri sounds dramatic but they're imperfect, aren't they?

Missouri lacks three ingredients found in abundance both in Florida and the Bahamas: heat, humidity and salty air. This terrible troika is the natural enemy of electric lines, insulators, metal shoes which clamp lines to insulators, and virtually every piece of hardware on power poles, as well as the poles themselves.

Constant heat, humidity, and salty air beat the living snot out of anything. Add the fun ingredient of high voltage, and strange and wonderful things occur: corrosion, arcing, burning, you name it.

Oh, and let's not forget to add in a fourth player, a real wild card: lightning. Does wonders for all things metal, electrical, wooden, masonry, you name it.

We don't think about these things but that doesn't mean they're ongoing, constantly.

Look, here in Florida, FPL is a well run company. Still, during summer it's not unusual for power to dip or momentarily fail at least once weekly. During thunderstorms power often fails briefly, sometimes longer. Ironically, though power often remains up during tropical storms, after storms pass we're plagued with endless dips and failures.

No complaints here, just chalk it off to electric power delivery in the tropics and sub tropics. Heat and electricity and salt air are natural enemies of whatever we build of metal, plastic, or even wood and masonry. Add in high voltages in the lines in the kilovolt range, you accelerate the destruction. Toss in some lightning, well, you get the idea. That the power grid manages to work with such regularity is a tribute to the men and women who build and maintain it.

In the BEC instance, we have the failure of what seems to be the main feeder from Clifton Pier Power Station and possibly a transformer substation out by the airport. This occurred during the wee hours and yet within four and one half hours, power was back up to ninety-five percent.

Annoying, hot, sweaty, but by the start of business hours, seems like things were back again.

Always room for improvement, yeah, but things could be far, far worse.

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