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‘A lot of work’ to stop BEC grid collapsing

By SANCHESKA BROWN

Tribune Staff Reporter

sbrown@tribunemedia.net

PRIME Minister Perry Christie said yesterday there is “a lot of work to do” at the Bahamas Electricity Corporation before the summer to “prevent the entire grid from collapsing” causing further widespread power outages during the peak season.

Speaking to the media outside the House of Assembly yesterday, Mr Christie said the government must get plans underway to prevent any further blackouts, especially during the hottest months of the year.

He also said officials were now holding final meetings to wrap up discussions on BEC’s restructuring. He said a management company should be announced “very soon”.

His comments came shortly after nearly 10 per cent of the capital was left without electricity after two engines at BEC’s Clifton Pier Power Plant failed around 10.20am.

This supply interruption came less than a week after an island-wide outage, which forced the company to conduct load-shedding activities throughout New Providence over the weekend.

Some residents reported that they were without power for up to 36 consecutive hours. Free National Movement Leader Dr Hubert Minnis said the blackout exposed “a crisis in leadership.”

“I wish he (Dr Minnis) would give me the opportunity to hear him say it in Parliament when I could respond immediately,” Mr Christie said yesterday. “But these sort of back door comments about vision is just political rhetoric and bordering on the idiotic at times because again with respect to BEC, it is clear we have a continuing problem with the Bahamas Electricity Corporation.

“I am deeply concerned not just about that but obviously that we must almost immediately put into effect efforts to prevent the entire collapse of the grid to be able to anticipate this summer when we are going to have more hotel rooms added to it. Therefore BEC has a lot of work to do.

“What I thought came out of this was, however it happened, and even if it was negligence, however it happened what I found remarkable was the response of the BEC team and being able to get that back up and get people connected very effectively in a short amount of time.”

Minister of Works Philip Davis has said he is satisfied the blackout, which came after a fire in the trenches at the Blue Hills Power Station, was not the result of employee negligence. This contradicted BEC Executive Chairman Leslie Miller who had initially blamed employees for the problem, but backtracked on Tuesday.

“When you look at what happens in the United States of America and the time it takes for them to get back up, I think we have to applaud the persons who worked for BEC and how they were able to respond to crisis,” Mr Christie added. “With respect to moving forward, the government of the Bahamas will be shortly in a position to receive the recommendation that I had made as a follow up to the recommendation of the (BEC reform) task force. I would want to first talk to the trade union representatives and the management representatives moving forward on these matters.”

On Monday, Bahamas Electrical Workers Union (BEWU) President Paul Maynard said if the government did not fire BEC Executive Chairman Leslie Miller immediately, the union would not support BEC’s reform process. His comments came after Mr Miller blamed the weekend’s island-wide power outage on BEC employees.

Yesterday, the prime minister said who serves as chairman is not up to the union but is a “government decision.”

Meanwhile, BEC said yesterday’s outage happened after a second engine had to be taken offline to clean a fuel filter around 10.21am. This caused “a generation shortfall resulting in a loss of service to less than 10 per cent of customers,” BEC said.

BEC said within an hour and a half, crews had cleared the filter, returned the engine to service and restored supply to most of the affected customers.

At 3pm, BEC said less than two per cent of customers were still without supply, but that all customers were expected back on supply shortly.

Comments

proudloudandfnm 7 years, 10 months ago

Well if it's a lot of work you Nassau folks are screwed. PLP don't do lots of work... lol...

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B_I_D___ 7 years, 10 months ago

Really kind of sad...everyone is in total agreement that we do not have sufficient power to supply Bahamar running at full tilt...they say that they are going to hold off on any expansion until the deal is struck with the BEC partner...you would think this would have some sense of urgency to it, as power plants don't just pop up functional overnight. But no...here we are, Bahamar is set to open and the government STILL has not done the deal with the partner and are no further ahead with beefing up the needed infrastructure to support Bahamar.

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duppyVAT 7 years, 10 months ago

Its a shame of what the electrical system has sunk to in New Providence ............... the other islands are far better off than NP ............ there must be a serious problem with maintenance, supervision and management in Nassau as opposed to the other islands.

I live on an island where it rarely ever has any systemic grid challenges .......... the BEC staff must be commended .................... its sad listening to the Nassau experience.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 7 years, 10 months ago

Every time Perry "Vomit" Christie opens his mouth he proves just how certifiably brain dead he now is. Years ago he should have been totally focused on BEC's well known threat to our country's national security interests and economic survival. This bumbling buffoon of a baboon would have us believe the light bulb suddenly got turned on in his head with respect to the well known major problems at BEC that he himself (as PM) should have long ago addressed. Like the garbage dumb fires that have been periodically spewing toxic fumes over hundreds of thousands of Bahamians causing serious health issues and even death for very young infants and very elderly Bahamians alike, absolutely nothing of any substance has been done by "Vomit" to deal with our country's unreliable electrical power supply and prohibitive, no, totally outrageous, light bills! Even the grade D minus educated Bahamians and illegal immigrants - thanks mainly to "Vomit's" many failed public education policies - now know that he is an incompetent bungling dysfunctional egocentric imbecile of the highest order who gets mocked scorned and laughed at (all at the same time) by the voting populace every time he dares to open his pathetic trap and spew more utterly ridiculous nonsense! He is going to wait until all of his black crabs (as he sees them) are being baked in complete darkness during the hottest of summer nights before trying to jam down our throats a restructuring of BEC involving back door deals that will leave him, his political apparatus and his business cronies laughing all the way to the bank at the honest hard working taxpayers expense. CHRISTIE IS NOW A MOST AGGRESSIVE CANCER EATING AWAY WHAT'S LEFT OF THE LIFE OF THE AVERAGE HONEST HARD WORKING BAHAMIAN!! HE THEREFORE NEEDS TO BE SURGICALLY REMOVED AS FAST AS POSSIBLE.

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John 7 years, 10 months ago

When I was in college (and before I drop out) anyone could go to the library and see the university 's plan for future growth and development. They had a short term 5 year plan an intermediate or 10 year plan and a 25 year long range plan. These included student enrollment projections, programs that will be offered the expected fees students would pay for enrollment and projections or expenses and revenue for the college. Then there were maps of what the college campus was expected to look like in 10 and. 25 years. This is what needs to be done with BEC. Water and sewerage the hospitals the schools. Then at least those who get elected and have no vision will have something to build on. More importantly the people will have a standard by which we measure them. What we been having mostly is one government coming in and building a foundation and another government coming behind and digging it up. A bird cannot fly with two left wings it must have balance. So must a government have vision and continuance

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duppyVAT 7 years, 10 months ago

And what college is that????????????? Surely not COB/UB ....... BOL

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