BY SANCHESKA BROWN
Tribune Staff Reporter
NEARLY one month after the first set of rental generators secured for Bahamas Power and Light arrived in the country, Bahamas Electrical Workers Union President Paul Maynard said the site for the engines has not been prepared and the generators will “probably not be installed for another couple weeks.”
Speaking to The Tribune after a weekend of load shedding, Mr Maynard said two major engines, one at Clifton Pier and one at the Blue Hills plant, failed on Saturday and Sunday, leading to a weekend of power outages that are expected to continue for the next few days.
In July, BPL CEO Pamela Hill acknowledged that power cuts this year have been more frequent than last year, but said BPL should have had the rental generators by the end of the summer to help with reliability.
Mr Maynard said there is “no excuse” for the generators being ordered late but said “in all fairness” this government is trying to bring an end to the power issues on the island.
“The generators have not been installed, they are just getting the site prepared, which should have been done a long time ago,” Mr Maynard said.
“The problem this weekend was twofold, first the engine at Blue Hills keeps shutting off because it thinks that it is running out of fuel, but it is not.”
“The crew has been working all weekend to try and narrow down what the problem is because that is 30 megawatts of power that we are not using. Believe me, we are just as frustrated and fed up with the power outages, especially since the rentals have been sitting there for weeks and are not installed.
“They should have been ordered from December, that is 40 megawatts of power that we need. Then the Clifton Pier plant that engine just keeps shutting down because it is just old. There is nothing we can do there. There are no excuses for this, this is ridiculous but in all fairness this government seems to be the only ones trying to do something.”
Over the weekend, customers across New Providence experienced three to four hour power cuts in some instances as BPL continues to struggle with generation issues.
BPL updated customers about the power cuts on its Facebook page but that did little to ease the frustration of the outages in 90-degree heat.
One person wrote on Facebook: “Hot inside. Zika outside. Thank you for ruining the start of a much-needed weekend. I wonder who will take responsibility for the sick and infirm who are forced to swelter in this heat? Do better. It’s 2016.”
Another customer wrote: “This foolishness and schools are reopening. Traffic lights will be affected, children will be affected by hot classrooms which will gravely create an impact and give them more of an excuse to be agitated. Businesses are still suffering thanks to BPL. Yet they provide no relief on those bills at the end of every month! They are holding us hostage and we should return the favour. United we stand for something, divided, we fall for anything. Bet those executives have power though.”
This summer, residents have endured frequent blackouts and power cuts as BPL struggled to provide adequate electricity.
This comes 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.