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Bec Blames Transmission Line Fault For Latest Blackout

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

OFFICIALS at the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) on Friday blamed a fault on an overhead transmission line for an outage that left nearly half of New Providence in darkness.

The corporation claimed the fault forced several generator units at its Blue Hills Power Station and one unit at its Clifton Pier Power Station to trip offline shortly after 11pm on Thursday.

BEC officials maintained that the outage was not island-wide as previously speculated, but affected roughly half of New Providence.

A statement read: "The Corporation apologises to those affected by the overnight outage and assures them that its team expedited the restoration process in an effort to quickly return engines to service and to bring customers back on supply."

Officials said that by 1am on Friday, all customers impacted by the outage had their supplies restored.

Last week, BEC officials suggested that two major lightning strikes at the Clifton Pier Power Station were the “root” cause of an island-wide outage which lasted for nearly five hours.

The corporation's outgoing Executive Chairman, Leslie Miller, claimed that the system subsequently shifted its full load to the Blue Hills Power Station, resulting in a forced shutdown at that site due to the massive demand. The blackout occurred around 2.30pm.

Officials however, on Friday said an investigation into that incident has revealed that its system was vulnerable because of copper theft that compromised key protective mechanisms.

"BEC continues to discourage the theft of copper as this practice has caused the Corporation millions of dollars in damage and lost revenue and can pose significant risk to life and property," BEC's statement read.

In February, Mr Miller reignited calls for a ban on copper after the electrocution of a man trying to steal copper from BEC.

Widespread copper theft propelled the Ingraham administration to implement a permanent ban on the export of copper and a 90-day ban on scrap metal in 2011.

The ban was later lifted and copper exports were allowed under more stringent terms in an amendment to the Customs Management Act.

Comments

Cobalt 3 years, 7 months ago

Excuses after excuses after excuses after excuses after excuses. If it's not lightning, then it's some other sob story.

It's 2015..... the Bahamas sits in one of the most developed regions in the Western Hemisphere.... yet our leaders nor these bungling BEC dummies (who are suppose to be electrical engineers) can't manage and sustain a 7x 21 electrical grid!!

This country is one big embarrassment. I think I'm going to change my citizenship. I don't want respectable people knowing that I'm from here. Seriously.

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Tarzan 3 years, 7 months ago

All of us understand your frustration Cobalt, but bear in mind the Bahamas has a lot going for it, and it is a small country whose problems are hardly insurmountable.

All the country needs is the political will to toss out the corrupt cronies that have been pillaging for decades.

Sadly the Parliamentary system is one that makes wholesale change difficult. The parties stack their party constituencies with loyalists who are fed on the public teat, and that group does not represent the population at large.

It may be necessary for the electorate to take the bull by the horns and demand a change the Bahamas Constitution providing a Presidential form of government, with separation of powers between executive and legislative branches, where new leadership can come in and throw the bums out.

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