By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
Frustrations continue to mount in the Abacos as power cuts persist, with one hotelier disclosing that the outages have turned potential visitors away.
Molly McIntosh, general manager of the Bluff House Beach Resort and Marina, said power was off again yesterday following disruptions on Sunday night. "It went out at 10am and is still out now in some areas," she told Tribune Business yesterday.
"Major brownout has burnt out so many routers and some air conditioners. We are so frustrated and guests are beyond upset. Business is up but I am afraid that people will not come back as they think this is the norm and expected. People have read on the Internet about our power problems and actually called and cancelled because of that."
One visitor, after seeing this newspaper's articles online, contacted Tribune Business to inquire about the Abaco power outages. "Part of my family arrived in Treasure Cay for a week-long vacation and they just notified me of a power outage affecting them tonight. After hearing this I searched and came across your article from earlier this month," they said.
He further queried: "Should we expect this to be an ongoing issue throughout the summer? We have been visiting the Abacos since the early 1970s and this is as bad as we've ever seen the power issues."
Ms McIntosh told Tribune Business that while the situation has become better since the July 7 holiday weekend, it is "still going off for an hour or so every other day".
"We just don't know when it is going off or when it might come back on, so have no idea what to tell guests," she said. "I do not want my staff to shy away from the guests, but when no one knows what to say, it is hard as the guests start to become upset and somewhat belligerent. I do not know the answer, other than BPL needs to invest some money in the infrastructure and maintenance."
BPL, in a statement last month, acknowledged it was having challenges with its generation and distribution network in Abaco, adding that copper theft continues to be a "significant problem" responsible for a number of prolonged outages. The company said it was working constantly to resolve issues responsible for the recent periods of supply interruption.
"While challenges impacting the generation and distribution network are to blame, theft of copper from BPL's infrastructure continues to be a significant problem and has been responsible for a number of outages and the duration of each," BPL said. The utility said it continues to address the challenges, and reiterated its commitment to supplying Abaco and the cays with consistent electricity.