By SANCHESKA BROWN
Tribune Staff Reporter
AN INVESTIGATION is underway to determine what caused an island wide outage in the capital on Friday, two days after Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) admitted the corporation was experiencing generation challenges.
According to BPL, a cable fault due to a generation issue caused the blackout shortly after 11am on Friday. Some parts of New Providence were without power for up to seven hours.
The Tribune understands the outage caused several government offices to close for the day, including the passport office and the Road Traffic Department and also caused some banks to temporally suspend their services.
The Tribune also received reports that several planes were stuck on the tarmac unable to take off and planes were also circling the Lynden Pindling International Airport unable to land because of power issues at the Airport Control Tower.
BPL said it had hoped to restore full service by 3pm. However a statement at 4.30pm read: “Bahamas Power and Light Company Limited (BPL) has completed restoration in New Providence following an island wide outage just after 11am (Friday). Early indications show that a major cable fault was responsible for the system failure; however, BPL will carry out a complete investigation once its system has stabilised.
“Crews began restoration just after 12 noon and systematically restored supply across the island throughout the afternoon. Supply was substantially restored before 2pm; however, BPL acknowledges that it is still carrying out repairs on some individual feeders. As a result, small groups of customers (less than 2%) are still without supply. BPL expects to complete most of these repairs by 6pm this evening.
“The company acknowledges that it has ongoing issues with its system in New Providence and, from time to time, customers may experience periods of supply interruption. The company apologises for these intermittent outages and advises that it is working on immediate and long term solutions to improve reliability.”
BPL advised customers to continue to check BPL’s Facebook page for timely updates on the outage and restoration efforts.
Angry customers, however, used the platform to vent their frustration on the frequent power outages.
One woman said: “How are we supposed to get anything done in this country when we can’t even count on having electricity? For goodness sakes, this is getting completely exasperating and we’ve barely started summer.”
Another customer said:”You guys are seriously hindering the development of the nation - why can’t you get it right?It’s summer time. Children are out of school. It’s too hot for this foolishness. Get it together! You all ain’t no better than the government.”
Further power outages on Saturday afternoon caused the temporary failure of traffic lights, with three major intersections on Prince Charles Drive gridlocked.
On Wednesday, BPL announced “outage rotations” throughout New Providence as the corporation continued to grapple with “generation challenges” at its power stations.
In one of several statements BPL said customers would experience power outages in two-hour intervals “until further notice”.
Later that night one engine was returned to service but a severe thunderstorm which produced lightning strikes then damaged BPL’s transmission and distribution networks, causing further outages in several communities across the island.
The company said crews were working through the night to carry out repairs and restore power.
This failure to keep the lights on came months after American company PowerSecure was contracted to take over management at the government-owned utility provider. The new management deal was touted by the government as being the answer to sub-par electricity service and high electricity bills.