By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
OFFICIALS at the Bahamas Electricity Corporation said two major lightning strikes at the corporation’s Clifton Power Station yesterday were the “root” cause of an island-wide power outage.
According to outgoing BEC Executive Chairman Leslie Miller, severe damage to some high-powered tension wires at the Clifton Station resulted in the failure of most of the site’s generators.
The Tall Pines MP claimed that the corporation’s system subsequently shifted its full load to its Blue Hills Power Station, resulting in a forced shut down at that site due to the massive demand. The blackout occurred around 2.30pm.
“Those two strikes were the root, but what followed is what took us out of commission for a while,” said Mr Miller.
He added: “The issue went from the wires at Clifton failing to all of our generators at Blue Hills shutting down.
“We had to address a number of issues but we managed to get things in order and will continue to get it together throughout (Thursday) evening,” he said yesterday.
Mr Miller said that at 7pm Thursday, most of the areas in New Providence and half of Paradise Island had already had power restored.
He added that BEC’s line staff was working to restore power to the rest of Paradise Island and some sections of southwestern and eastern New Providence.
Last March, Mr Miller spearheaded an $8m rental agreement between BEC and the world’s largest temporary power generation company, Aggreko.
The move, which he called a “short-term fix,” sought equipment that would give an additional 40 megawatts of power. Power that Mr Miller said would guard against incidents similar to yesterday’s outage.
In July, the government signed a transitional services agreement with American company PowerSecure to take over the management of BEC for five years.
The government has said this process would lead to lower electricity costs and supply stability.