BEC Chairman Leslie Miller
By SANCHESKA BROWN
Tribune Staff Reporter
CHAIRMAN Leslie Miller said Bahamians are in for a “long, hot, rough” summer as the Bahamas Electricity Corporation continues to experience challenges with generators at its two power plants.
Mr Miller’s comments came after four engines at Clifton Pier and two at Blue Hills, failed yesterday morning, forcing BEC to load shed for the majority of the day. According to Mr Miller, the load shedding was expected to continue last night.
When The Tribune went to press portions of New Providence were still without power.
Mr Miller said BEC is 40 megawatts of power short and he hoped the engines at Clifton would be repaired in time to prevent loss of power last night. However, he said the engines are so unreliable it is highly likely that they will continue to trip and cause more massive outages.
“I’ve been saying the same thing for months, we need new engines,” he said.
“We ordered some engines to make up for the shortfall during the summer, but it looks like not only will they not get here in time but it will not be enough to stop outages.
“In the meantime we need to do some things. We rented those engines and the first five megawatts is expected to get here the first week in May and the others will come about 30 days later. But it looks like now we will have to speed up the process.
“These engines are not reliable and because of this it is going to be a rough, miserable summer if something is not done soon. So now we are looking into making other arrangements to get some engines from another source here very soon.”
BEC officials confirmed the corporation was experiencing challenges “on its generation network” in New Providence.
“The corporation explains that two engines at its Clifton Pier Power Station were taken offline early Wednesday morning to carry out necessary repairs,” a BEC statement said. “Two additional engines at the corporation’s Blue Hill Road Power Station also remain offline. As a result, the corporation is unable to meet its peak demand in New Providence and customers may experience periods of supply interruption until repairs are completed.
“BEC officials assure the public that best efforts are being made to bring these engines online in the shortest possible time, ending the generation shortfall and also providing BEC with a necessary reserve.”
Last week, Mr Miller said BEC recently completed negotiations with Aggreko – the world’s largest temporary power generation company – for the rental of equipment that would provide an additional 40 megawatts of power, which he said would be in place by the first week in May.
The move, which he called a “short-term fix,” would cost the corporation about $8m for a rental period of six to eight months. However, he said the corporation may seek to extend the rental period.