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Davis Backing Bpl As Blackouts Go On

Official Opposition Leader Philip 'Brave' Davis.

Official Opposition Leader Philip 'Brave' Davis.

By SANCHESKA DORSETT

Tribune Staff Reporter

sdorsett@tribunemedia.net

DESPITE three island-wide blackouts and frequent supply disruptions in the past few days, Deputy Prime Minister Phillip Brave Davis has said he has “no regrets” handing over the day-to-day operations of the former Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) to PowerSecure.

Mr Davis, who is also the Minister of Works, told The Tribune he thinks Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) is “meeting its mandate” and blamed the constant power outages on “aged machines”.

New Providence residents suffered another island-wide power outage yesterday following a weekend of electricity challenges. Residents complained of intermittent outages on Friday and Saturday.

Last Thursday, BPL blamed a “damaged underground cable” for blackouts on Tuesday and Wednesday and customers were warned at the time that they may experience “intermittent challenges with their power supply until operations have stabilised”.

“I have no regrets, because I think BPL is meeting its mandate as we have outlined it,” Mr Davis said when asked about the frequent power cuts.

“The challenge has been we still have the aged engines and we have not been able to address them in the way we had anticipated much earlier. That requires capital. Remembering that BPL is still a Bahamian-owned entity and they look to government for the raising of their capital, therein lies the challenge at the moment. We need to be able to replace the aged engines and that is what is giving us the challenge that we have today.

“I think reliability has been improved. What I say to residents that you would have seen improvements in reliability, you would have seen improvements in the bottom line of your bills since 2012. Take heart from that to realise that we will fulfil the other end of the bargain, that is reliable generation, which will come and replace those engines that are aged.”

Despite Mr Davis’ claim that light bills have decreased, angry BPL consumers have openly criticised the electricity provider for higher-than-normal billing, especially following Hurricane Matthew.

Many consumers told The Tribune they simply could not understand the “extraordinarily” high bills they were sent post-storm, with several rejecting BPL’s claims of using “historical usage data” that was specific to each customer’s account to calculate billing.

Yesterday, New Providence experienced another island-wide outage around 2pm. When The Tribune spoke to President of the Bahamas Electrical Workers Union Paul Maynard around 4.30pm, he indicated that the company “had no idea” what caused the problem.

“All we know right know is that several engines shut down at Baillou Hill (power station) and we are trying to get them back on but these engines are old, there is only so much we can do.”

BPL posted updates about the blackout on its Facebook page.

Around 4pm, the company said BPL said teams were working to restart engines and eventually begin restoring power to customers.

“BPL apologises for the system instability issues today and in the past few days and assures you that every reasonable effort is being made to correct the problems. We will continue to update you on the progress of our restoration effort,” the brief statement said.

Around 7.30pm, BPL said it had begun restoring power to some areas as it asked for patience, saying the process would be a slow one.

“Despite some challenges restarting engines, BPL has managed to get several units back up and running and has started to restore power in New Providence,” the company said on Facebook.

“We do advise that given the existing system instability, this will be a slow process as we work to restore power without causing another total system shutdown.”

Irate residents vented their frustrations on BPL’s Facebook page.

“No one is interested in apologies, especially after the ‘over-estimated’ bills we just paid,” one person wrote.

“Grown folks with grown folks stuff to do require power. It’s laughable that you guys managed millions of households in the United States but are unable to manage a couple of hundred thousand here. This is simply unacceptable as that crappy apology. We should have some recourse. URCA please do your job. Bahamian people deserve better.”

Another customer said: “BPL you are messing up my appliances. Who is going to fix my TVs, refrigerator, microwave, freezer, radios etc? Your business in this country is not welcomed in the least. Why don’t you just leave and go back to your own country? This is unacceptable.”

BPL said it would continue to provide updates via its Facebook page.

American company PowerSecure took over management of BPL, formerly BEC, earlier this year.

Comments

CommonSense 2 years, 2 months ago

Should've put the ~$500,000 that you guys authorized for those hideous decorations on Bay St. towards obtaining NEW generators.

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BoopaDoop 2 years, 2 months ago

...and the money that went to Junkanoo Carnival

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DonAnthony 2 years, 2 months ago

...and the $482,000 paid to Leno corporate services for the recent BOB share offering which was completely subscribed for by the govt., absolutely criminal, we need to know who owns this company and why the government was ripped off yet again.

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Honestman 2 years, 2 months ago

I don't know about the government being ripped off but the taxpayers certainly were!

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Honestman 2 years, 2 months ago

I wonder how the profit on that decorations contract was carved up?

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DDK 2 years, 2 months ago

They spend money like it is water, without a care as to how the bills will be paid. They must be stopped. Can the country survive until election?

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Emac 2 years, 2 months ago

But of course Davis would still back BPL. After all, he and his kind love darkness. Unfortunately, this admin and the former FNM crew have been playing the people on this matter for years. The sad thing is leaders past and present don't understand that it is imperative for Bahamians to at least enjoy the basic necessities of life, such as power and communications without disruptions, since everything else in the Bahamas is messed up and compounded by the high cost of living. If you ask me both governments have been treating Bahamians like step children for far too long!

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MassExodus 2 years, 2 months ago

Of course the government makes BEC private before shit hits the fan, after they raped BEC did not maintain equipment etc. So now BPL is given the contract and the engines are failimg and everyone is blaming them. In reality BEC ran this operation into the ground prior to BPL and we are now finding out how badly.

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Zakary 2 years, 2 months ago

The level of ignorance in those Facebook comments are pissing me the hell off, in fact, this whole article is stupid.

BPL is still BEC. Let that sink in deep for a moment. It’s a given that the DPM will back BPL. The PLP, FNM, and other government related entities are playing the Bahamian people like a damn fiddle, same garbage every single day.

The Tribune should stop enabling this dumb politics and tell the people what’s really wrong with BEC/BPL.

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ThisIsOurs 2 years, 2 months ago

Exactly. They're trying to push this off as if BPL is some separate foreign entity. BPL IS a non-entity. They have ZERO power. ALL decisions MUST be approved by the government. This is a MOW FAILURE. Just like the garbage and the roads and BAMSI, when that opening again? 3020?

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jus2cents 2 years, 2 months ago

So many reasons and people to blame starting with- Government not paying their own power bills for decades. Customers not paying power bills. Not upgrading and maintaining equipment. Cronies getting contracts and doing nothing. Not investing in renewables etc. but mainly it's the inept Govenment getting the wrong generators, not training workers and making bad choices that benefit themselves their cronies and shaft the rest of us.

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lucaya 2 years, 2 months ago

I say f**k Davis, my light bill has doubled and ain't no one can justify the increase so I'm left paying it, disgusted....

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sheeprunner12 2 years, 2 months ago

Brave Davis is a slithering crook .......... he invested $100 million in Bahamasair ......... he set up Reward Wells in the LOI scam ........... now he got us into the BPL mess with no clear solution to the nearly $1 Billion needed to solve the BEC crisis ......... and that is not even touching the $50 million BAMSI and $40 UR2.0 schemes wih NO accountability since 2012.

BRAVE NEEDS TO IMPEACHED AND LOCKED UP FOR GROSS PUBLIC MISMANAGEMENT

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John 2 years, 2 months ago

Watch how Bravis dem and Power Secure a/k/a BPL and BEC are ripping you off: My light bill for last October (2015) was $832.00. The bill for October 2016 is $988.00 (Nine Hundred and Eighty Eight Dollars). But watch this, my power was only on for oneweek in October 2016, because of the hurricane. So in essence, BPL charged me $988.00 for one weeks power supply. If you multiply that bill by 4 to prorate for the full month the bill for October, 2016 would actually be $3,952.00 YES THREE THOUSAND, NINE HUNDRED AND FIFTY TWO DOLLARS! But lets not stop there: I was using a generator in which I had to put $190.00 fuel in every four days. So over a three week period, I spent $950.00 on fuel for the generator. So in essence I spent $1,938.00 ($988.00 to BEC plus $950.00 in fuel) for power during the month of October. A bill that cost me $832.00 just last year. On another BEC meter which is only a security light and a water pump I got a bill for $555.00 for October 2016. This bill was $26.30 for October last year. And BPL has printed on the bill that the consumption has increased by 1080%. (one thousand and Eighty percent). But it does not end there. The power on this meter was also off for 3 weeks in October. So if you prorate the bill for the entire month it would be $2,220.00. So a bill gone from $26.30 to $2,2220.00 in one month...an increase of 4000 percent! and this man Brave Davis gat the nerve to tell you that there has been no increase in power... Then when they cutting you off four and five times a month, sometimes more, now and you are getting the same light bill what does that mean..they charging you for when the power off!.. sucking every red cent out your pocket...yall ainn serious.

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sheeprunner12 2 years, 2 months ago

Been dere, done dat .............. that is just the way it is bulla

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ohdrap4 2 years, 2 months ago

after the storm, i only lost power for 3 days.

Last september: 89, this September 88 Last october 60, this october 50

plese report if you get the difference back in november John.

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observer2 2 years, 2 months ago

Hi John, I had a similar experience. However I had $2,000 of generator repairs, blown TV, blown gate opener, blown Printer and blown A/c unit. So add to the fake BEC bills for power not used, diesel fuel and lost productivity and BEC has cost me over $10,000. The cost and power cuts are on going. We really need to get rid of this company (BEC and BPL). While you're at it, change the government as well.

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realfreethinker 2 years, 2 months ago

Changing the government should be at the top of the list.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 years, 2 months ago

The one picture above with the short stubby grubby dirty yellow sticky fingers is indeed as crooked as they come, but he is a mere tool of distraction for the King Crook himself. To KING CROOK CHRISTIE WE ALL SAY: Stop trying to distance yourself from the very problem that YOU created Mr. Crooked Christie. Yes, YOU Mr. Crooked Christie are responsible for the power outages and yes YOU Mr. Crooked Christie (and the very greedy fuel supplier Sir Snake) already know full well why these recurring outages are occurring with increasing frequency and for longer periods of time. The suffering Bahamian people and ailing businesses are not so easily fooled by your patently false and condescending pleas of ignorance, as if the many years of the now bankrupt BEC's problems created by YOU, and tossed by YOU for political distancing purposes only to the management company BPL, have only just come to your attention. Your efforts Mr. Crooked Christie to deceive the Bahamian people make you look like the corrupt fool that YOU truly are! Yes Mr. Crooked Christie, you are truly an emperor without clothes because the Bahamian people can clearly see straight through that very ornately decorated yellow robe that you now wear to please your corrupt Red China friends.

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realfreethinker 2 years, 2 months ago

Dosen't that guy at the top of the article just exudes corruption,kleptocracy?

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