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Business Owners Furious With Bec Over Power Cuts

BEC Chairman Leslie Miller

BEC Chairman Leslie Miller

By SANCHESKA BROWN

Tribune Staff Reporter

sbrown@tribunemedia.net

BUSINESS owners and residents in New Providence expressed their fury at the Bahamas Electricity Corporation’s inability to provide a steady power supply as BEC’s Executive Chairman Leslie Miller said yesterday “there is nothing else” officials can do to prevent power cuts over the next few days.

The power cuts, which continued all day yesterday in parts of New Providence, forced some businesses to shut down for the day on Monday, with reports of closures on Bay Street and in the Palmdale area.

However, Mr Miller urged customers to “bear with BEC” during this “very serious crisis”.

He said while BEC was able to restore electricity to most customers on Monday evening, the corporation was only able to meet demand at midnight, when most businesses had shut down.

His statements came after thousands of residents were left without power, some for more than five hours on Monday after engine failures at both the Blue Hills and Clifton Pier stations. Unfortunately, Mr Miller said BEC would not be able to meet demand until the rental generators arrive in Nassau.

He also indicated in a television interview on NB12 last night that some homes would have to go without power to ensure the World Relays event at the weekend would have electricity, saying “we cannot have an embarrassment with an international event of this calibre”.

A statement released by BEC yesterday said temporary generator units supplied by Aggreko, an international company, should be installed and operational within the next four weeks. An initial five megawatts of Aggreko temporary units should be on island within the next few days, the statement added.

“In the interim BEC expects that there may be periods of supply interruption if customer demand exceeds BEC’s existing capacity,” BEC said. “The corporation assures the public that it continues to do what it can to limit the duration of supply interruptions and the amount of customers impacted. BEC requests its customers’ patience as it makes every effort to ensure that present challenges do not persist into and throughout the summer.”

However, affected residents and business owners said the power cuts have affected their cash flow and everyday routines.

A hair salon owner in Palmdale, who did not want to be named, said she lost hundreds of dollars in clients due to the load shedding.

“The power went out around 1pm (Monday) and never came back on. We had to turn away customers because we had no power and even worse there were some customers that began getting their services and had to leave half done. It is a disgrace and it is a disservice to business owners. Who is going to give me the money I lost? Something has to happen.”

Some angry residents took to social media websites to vent their frustration on the power cuts.

One person said: “Getting a haircut was a challenge because the power was going off so frequently, many barbers did not want to start cutting your hair and the power goes off in the middle of it. Seems like many people chose the food court in the mall to escape the sizzling heat and find something to eat as many people chose not to cook when current keeps going off.”

Another said: “The power went off from around 3 pm (Monday). That’s after being off from noon on Saturday until 5.30 Sunday morning. So we went out and came back to find three of the four goldfish floating...dead. These fish are four and five years old and value between $300 and $500 each. Explaining it to children ain’t easy. But we couldn’t help but wonder how the hospitals and other care facilities make it when power cuts are so frequent and so long.”

BEC has maintained the power grid is strained because of unusually high temperatures this month, leading people to use more electricity.

“We are still about 20 megawatts short,” Mr Miller said yesterday. “We are also attempting to fix one of the generators at Clifton, but the part we need costs $400,000 and will not be here until about another six weeks. We have problems all around. The summer heat started much sooner than anticipated.

“At peak last year we were at 220 megawatts but now we are already up 215 and the summer has not even started yet. We are in trouble, between a rock and a hard place and there is nothing we can do about the situation. When it isn’t one thing it’s the next.”

BEC said Monday’s power cuts began after an electrical fault developed on its transmission system.

“This resulted in a shutdown of engines at the Blue Hills Power Station,” BEC said. “A protective mechanism on the transmission line was initiated that allowed Clifton Pier’s generators to remain up and running and providing electricity to approximately 40 per cent of the island.”

While power was reconnected in stages across the island, full power was not supplied until midnight.

BEC said an investigation is underway to correct the problems that caused the transmission fault.

Comments

TigerB 4 years, 2 months ago

My heart goes out you all in Nassau. I was there for 4 days last year in the summeer and those power cuts ruin my vacation. I was hot, miserable and pissed! I believe some of that Bahamas Carnaval Money is left. Perhaps the government can reroute that to BEC.

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GrassRoot 4 years, 2 months ago

Suggest they run the power for the Relays, introduce all the great leaders of our country that are in charge and only then cut the power for the relays, so at least the world knows who is responsible for this mess. Our Lider Maximo has gone silent, another seizure? too embarrassed? hoping that he can sweat this one out? instructed the AG to come up with a legal memo that it is legal for BEC to screw its customers? and that it is all the UN's fault?

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GrassRoot 4 years, 2 months ago

The other night a man told me the story, that in a land far far away, people were able to catch the sunlight during the day and put it in a box. And at night, when it was dark and cold, they opened the box and let the sunlight out, bit by bit - to have light and stay warm.

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TalRussell 4 years, 2 months ago

But Comrade, while your story has a beautiful simplicity tone it. don't you think the PLP cabinet would contract the catching of the sunlight out to one PLP, then sign another contract put sucker in da box - and, by the time it was dark, da box sunlight be reported as, da box gone missing? You see, even a PLP cabinet, would find a way to turn your lovely story into one ugly mother of a sucker nightmare. Definitely, not suitable little children.

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GrassRoot 4 years, 2 months ago

of course, and first and foremost they would rob the storyteller.

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DonAnthony 4 years, 2 months ago

Then the police would investigate, and the attorney general would sit on the report and never bring charges.

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TalRussell 4 years, 2 months ago

Comrade your take on Grassroots lovely story reflects a painful problem with this PLP cabinet. I so like story telling.

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spoitier 4 years, 2 months ago

If the box had a hole in it, the contractor wouldn't have insurance to cover any leakage and the PLP would only find that out after the fact.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 2 months ago

WORTH REPEATING: Christie has told Miller that no matter what it takes our National Stadium and hotels must have all the electricity they require during the IAAF Relays to avoid embarrassment for Christie and his government on the international stage. Miller in turn told Christie that this will mean all his black crabs on New Providence with no generator will have to be over-baked during the IAAF Relays. Christie's response: "Don't worry bout over-cooking dem black crabs - they gonna vote for me no matter what when da time come and they ain't fool enough to go crawlin' all over my National Stadium to cause a ruckus during the Relays when they get too much heat to dere heads!"

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spoitier 4 years, 2 months ago

The problem with that story is if the people vote FNM the same thing is going to happened with the power because none of them have the vision to make the grid redundant.

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EnoughIsEnough 4 years, 2 months ago

time to stand out front of the IAAF relays with placcards letting the world know the situation we are in. if these games are so international then it's important to get the word out to the int'l media. it may hurt us in the short term but could help us in the long run. we are all about looking pretty to the outside world - well, with the internet etc it's impossible to keep these things a secret. stand up for yourselves bahamians and use the tools that have been given to you. and what about all of the money spent to rent generators for carnival - they are sitting at arawak cay. and the money paid to the almost ALL foreign production team that was hired to put on the carnival - how many of you knew that! just walk into the production offices/headquarters and you'll see. even the guy taking the photos for the ID badges for attendees is an american! is that acceptable??

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GrassRoot 4 years, 2 months ago

I like it. Banana Republics are expected to produce Bananas. its about time that the world scraps the picture of the Bahamas being one island with palm trees and Tommy Bahama sun chairs and billionaires sipping Bahama Mamas, dancing to Calypso. I think this government deserves to be embarrassed to the bones by power being cut during the IAAF relay events.

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TalRussell 4 years, 2 months ago

Comrade Bob Marley said, "Truth is da light", So maybe that's why da PLP cabinet don't likes no lights be on in cabinet room."

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jackbnimble 4 years, 2 months ago

Great idea! Everyone with their power off during the relays should gather outside the stadium and carry on dead bad. Embarrass the hell out of the Government.

I mean, what is that to say? You are cutting off paying customers so that the country would look good to the visiting foreigners? Some people just don't know what the hell to say!

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Reality_Check 4 years, 2 months ago

HAS ANYONE NOTICED THE DEAFENING SILENCE OF CHRISTIE ON THE INABILITY OF BEC TO PROVIDE ALL OF US WITH A RELIABLE SUPPLY OF ELECTRICITY AT REASONABLE COST? THIS IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT MATTER THREATENING THE ECONOMY AND NATIONAL SECURITY INTERESTS OF OUR COUNTRY AND HAS BEEN SO FOR YEARS NOW. THE IMF, MOODY'S, S&P, ETC. WILL ALL SOON BE CHANGING THEIR ESTIMATES OF OUR COUNTRY'S GDP AND DISMAL PROSPECTS FOR REIGNING IN OUR NATIONAL DEBT AS A RESULT OF OUR ELECTRICITY CRISIS, WITH THE STRONG POSSIBILITY OF INVESTMENT DOWNGRADES TO LOGICALLY FOLLOW. BUSINESSES HAVE BEEN RAVAGED BY FEE AND TAX INCREASES OF ONE KIND OR ANOTHER AND NOW MOST BUSINESS OWNERS ARE ALSO STRUGGLING TO KEEP THEIR DOORS OPEN AGAINST THE BACKDROP OF VERY COSTLY AND PERSISTENT ELECTRICAL OUTAGES. CHRISTIE HAS WRONGFULLY PREOCCUPIED HIMSELF AND HIS GOVERNMENT WITH OTHER MATTERS OF MUCH LESS SIGNIFICANCE TO THE WELL-BEING OF OUR COUNTRY AND THE LIVES OF MOST HARDWORKING HONEST BAHAMIANS, E.G. THE 'ILLEGAL' WEB SHOPS, SAME-SEX MARRIAGE, CARNIVAL, ETC., ETC. CHRISTIE, AND CHRISTIE ALONE, HAS DRIVEN OUR NATION TO THE BRINK. NEVER BEFORE HAS A SINGLE BAHAMIAN CAUSED MORE HARM TO OUR COUNTRY! THIS IS THE LEGACY OF CHRISTIE!

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GrassRoot 4 years, 2 months ago

you talking about Seizure-Christie? Remind me who else was in the Cabinet? No more loud mouths around? Fred Extraordinaire, Chubby Finger DPM, Obie wan Kanobie, Meltdown Gibson, Die or Tax Gomez, 50 Shady Gray? Seems the whole Cabinet is in 24/7 parliament sessions and focused on the well being of the land.

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GrassRoot 4 years, 2 months ago

Some employer to kick out one employee please? maybe it revives the government or members thereof? Mel Gibson? Earth Calling.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 2 months ago

Christie is now behaving like a deer on a dark night caught in the head lights of an oncoming Mack truck! His own incompetency has resulted in crisis after crisis and crisis overlapping crisis, leaving him overwhelmed, stupefied, and paralyzed. Christie's wife can be heard saying: "Come Sweetie, let's do some 'official' traveling during this long hot summer at their expense in order to take your mind off of things." WHAT A JOKE!!

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Sickened 4 years, 2 months ago

"His own incompetency has resulted in crisis after crisis and crisis overlapping crisis" LOVE IT!!!

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proudloudandfnm 4 years, 2 months ago

Who ga spend 90 bucks to watch the Paqui fight? Think BEC could keep the power on?

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TalRussell 4 years, 2 months ago

Comrade, BEC has no respect ole TV Rabbit Ears watch Paqui fight in black and white.

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GrassRoot 4 years, 2 months ago

if it does not, send them a letter like Atlantis did the other day and ask them for a restitution.

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John 4 years, 2 months ago

THE SKY IS FALLING!!! Some may remember back when 'they' claimed there was a gas shortage and so 'they' started rationing gas. Lines at the pumps stretched, sometimes, for miles in the US and it was not unusual for many stations here to close because they ran out of fuel. In fact many service stations in the US implemented an 'odd even" plan, where motorist could only buy gas on certain days depending if their license plate ended in an even or odd number. The point is there was NO gas shortage, it was something created by 'them.'' But by the time you towed the line at the service station you were so happy to get gas, you did not worry that the price jumped up from a dollar plus to eventually over $5.00 a gallon. (the US went from under $1.00 to over $4.00 a gallon). Now can you see that is the same game they are playing with us at BEC? Never mind you are paying FOUR times more for electricity than what it should be, but they make it in short supply. They make you so happy when the power stays on you forget how much they are ripping you off with the price. In fact even the previous government and this one try to make you feel guilty when you don't pay your light bill on time. They juicing you still!

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GrassRoot 4 years, 2 months ago

wonder whether the event has pre-paid the BEC bills. I have a feeling that this is where this months' VAT revenue is going to.....

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John 4 years, 2 months ago

Vat revenue is $28 million a month plus the quarterly filing businesses pay this month so your government will be collecting around $40 million this month from VAT. Then the games and carnival bring more money for them. Tell us why they cannot fix BEC. Except they ripping you off. #fuelscam

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Sickened 4 years, 2 months ago

You are so right! Last night I expected my electricity to go off again as has been the norm since last Friday so, to prepare, I put all my A/C's down as low as they could go so that I could last the night with some cold air. Wouldn't you know, the electricity didn't go off and I spent the whole night freezing cold. I HAPPILY spent $200 last night on electricity 'cause I so use to not having it!

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SP 4 years, 2 months ago

40 year monopoly on power and they went bankrupt..LOL..,Jackass's one and all..LOL

Just how bloody stupid, dumb, greedy and corrupt do you need to be to run the biggest cash cow in the country into insolvency?

Wow....LOL....Jackass does as jackass is an understatement in Bahamas. For such a small Island there sure are a lot of assholes in high places here...LOL

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TalRussell 4 years, 2 months ago

Comrades the real long lost city of Atlantis will rise off Andros, before Atlantis Paradise Island will ever see a red penny of restitution, from BEC against their million dollars in revenue loss.

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Stapedius 4 years, 2 months ago

This is truly a load of bs. This has been going on at Bec for years. New generators bought by both governments so I don't know if the blame is on any one party or government. The fact is BEC management has done a terrible job of developing a sensible power network. The excuse is that the executives hands are tied. If that's the case do the decent thing and resign. Why stay with a company that you cannot improve or show how your leadership has made it better? These a holes simply stay for the money. They can care less about performance. How about performance based bonuses for BEC employees rather than overtime pay?

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TalRussell 4 years, 2 months ago

Comrade US court testimony accuses a red shirt member of a BEC's board of directors of not having their hands tied at least when it came accepting a 1/4 million dollars bribe?

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John 4 years, 2 months ago

We need to juice them back: turn off everything electrical in your home or business you don't really need. Turn your heater off completely during the summer and take baths in the early evening when the tap water is still warm. Start investing in a solar grid. A single solar panel with a battery can run security lights for the entire night and it will allow you to have light when there is a power outage. You can then add capacity to power your TV/cable and other equipment. If you put a galvanized water tank in the most direct sunlight part of your yard (30-100 gallons). It can provide enough warm water on sunny days for an entire family of four to shower without any additional heating. Have the areas of your building where you use a/c sealed and insulated. The better the insulation the lower your electricity bill.

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jackflash 4 years, 2 months ago

John has a good point on water heating.

Even a long garden hose in the sun plumbed back into the hot side of your water heater (which is turned off) will do the trick.

Stop bitching about your power bill and be proactive.

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Raptor22 4 years, 2 months ago

This is a fact: our National Stadium has 4 huge Generators powerful enough to run our National Stadium, plus! Why aren't these Generators being used?"

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Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 2 months ago

They are not being used because our government is in the business of grossly over paying for generators that are not maintained and don't work.

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digimagination 4 years, 2 months ago

Probably can't afford the fuel to run them!

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OMG 4 years, 2 months ago

This problem is the result of years of mismanagement , lack of foresight and investment. Nothing ever changes in this country,seminars, meetings, consultants and bullshit bullshit and more bullshit. Devaluation is coming but don't worry Christie and his cohorts will survive.

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TalRussell 4 years, 2 months ago

Comrades we're left wonder if the stadium's generators are actually functional?

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SP 4 years, 2 months ago

...................................................... Blah, blah, blah ............................................................

PLP and FNM have kicked us all squarely in the ass for four consecutive decades!

You people have talk too damn much.....Organize yourselves, get off your ass's, go downtown in mass an demand these pirates get out like so many other countries have had to do.

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Stapedius 4 years, 2 months ago

Lead the charge SP. You're running your gob too.

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