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Lightning Forces Power Outages

By SANCHESKA DORSETT

Tribune Staff Reporter

sdorsett@tribunemedia.net

BAHAMAS Power and Light yesterday blamed a lightning storm for a series of outages in New Providence Tuesday night into Wednesday morning that left some customers without electricity for nearly 16 hours.

President of the Bahamas Electrical Workers Union Paul Maynard said BPL’s system is “very, very weak” and unless it gets new equipment, “when it rains, the power will go off.”

Mr Maynard said lightning hit several overhead lines during a storm Tuesday, causing scattered power outages throughout the capital.

“The lightning hit the lines and we have a very, very weak system that we need to shore up,” he said.

“I have said it before, we are at a critical stage and we need new equipment. Changes have to be made, it’s on the company and the government to get this together. Everyone experienced an outage last night (Tuesday), some people for like 12 hours. The men were out there working through the night and through the day trying to restore the power. We need new equipment and a new system or every time we have a storm, the power will go off somewhere.”

In a statement on its Facebook page, BPL said crews were continuing their efforts to restore supply to customers in southern New Providence that were still experiencing outages.

“Bahamas Power and Light Company Ltd advises customers in southern New Providence that crews are continuing their efforts to restore supply to customers impacted by the inclement weather experienced over the last 24 hours,” the statement said.

“BPL encourages all residents whose homes may flood to levels that reach above electrical outlets, to immediately turn off the power supply and not to re-energise them until they have had an electrical inspection carried out.

“Customers should continue to contact our emergency numbers at 323-5561-4 or 302-1800 to report outages or power related concerns.”

Affected customers took to BPL’s Facebook page to vent their frustration.

“I just want to scream,” one person wrote. “We did not have that much rain in Silver Gates and we have been without power for 15 blessed hours! This is ridiculous.”

Another customer wrote: “Lights have been off in Bamboo Town from 1am this morning and are still off. This the 21st century there is no need for a power outage to be this long.”

In May, with the hot summer months approaching, BPL expressed “confidence” in its readiness to take on the peak period with its higher power generation capability.

In a statement, BPL said while it expected the needed power generation this summer to peak at 255 megawatts, its current generation availability is over 345mw. This is 90mw higher than the demand expected this summer.

In addition, the electricity provider said transmission cables between Blue Hills Power Station and the Big Pond Sub-Station have been replaced and upgraded to improve the capacity and reliability of the transmission system.

Pointing to the period from June to September last year, in which BPL experienced challenges due to low generation availability and reliability, the company said it wanted to ensure Bahamians would not suffer from the same issues this summer.

American company PowerSecure was contracted last year to take over management at the government-owned utility provider. The new management deal was touted by the Christie administration as being the answer to sub-par electricity service and high electricity bills.

However, the country has still been plagued with repeated power outages, especially in the summer months.

Comments

proudloudandfnm 1 year, 9 months ago

This has been going on for 7 years.

Will you Nassau people ever protest or march for electricity?!?!?

You guys can't possibly think government will do anything about this when all you guys do is sit on your ass and complain. I'd pitch a tent on the PM's lawn with a drop cord plugged into his garage..

Keep sitting on your asses thinking government will fix it..

Enjoy the next 7 years of power outtages...

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DDK 1 year, 9 months ago

It's been going on for decades. BEC/BPL whatever they choose to call themselves are a disgrace. Really like a third world country with very high bills and poor, erratic service that destroys every thing with an electric plug. It ain't just Nassau either. I understand Abaco and Eleuthera have major challenges on a regular basis. I imagine it's nation-wide. Funny Freeport was always exempt from this shoddy service. I wonder why?

It's poor administration and it starts at the top. This top, last top, time before last top. So much nepotism. So much inefficiency. Guys out there risking their lives to restore power on a regular basis. Big shots don't care. They all have 'gennies'.

What did the Tourism Minister mean when he recently said BPL was partially privatized? Why are we paying foreigners to manager our corporation???? All they're doing is pocketing what Pillage Loot Plunder was foolish enough to give them. Why the hell isn't it run like a business? That's all it needs! Take the money received for the service, upgrade the equipment and cables as necessary, perform preventative maintenance and pay decent staff to keep the power running. Get rid of political appointees and slack dead weight.

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The_Oracle 1 year, 9 months ago

Single Wire Earth Return folks, No ground wire at the top of the poles. Lightning hits the hot wire every time! If a ground wire was atop the poles that is what it would hit, Ground is all lightning wants! This is why Florida has ground wires on all poles. Freeport Power Aka G.B. power ain't far behind BEC/BPL. In fact worse in some ways.

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proudloudandfnm 1 year, 9 months ago

Yeah. No lie. I've lost 5 tv sets, two sound systems, like 10 cable boxes and a fridge from lightning strikes in Freeport the last 10 years. Now if I see a flash I unplugging everything!!!!

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The_Oracle 1 year, 9 months ago

Single wire Earth return is only used in the U.S. for farm houses Etc far from a grid. Cutting the wire needed by a third, along with half the power poles.( costs assumed by the recipient) When this is used, after testing for a sufficient earth ground, the ground must be tested annually. When was the last time anyone here had their ground tested? When was anyone here required to have their ground tested? (aside initial electrical inspection of a new service) Very little gets blown up in Florida when the utility poles are hit, I was standing in a hotel entrance and watched lightning hit a pole not 100ft away. Hotel was fine. Phone, power, elevator, computers and internet, fine. Now, lets talk phase angle and frequency stability.............

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baldbeardedbahamian 1 year, 9 months ago

WE ARE A THIRD WORLD COUNTRY RUN BY THIRD WORLD POLITICIANS. THEREFORE WE HAVE THIRD WORLD POWER SUPPLY. IF THE POWER CABLES WERE BURIED UNDERGROUND THEN LIGHTNING WOULD NOT BE AN ISSUE BUT THIS WOULD COST MORE MONEY THAN WE ARE WILLING TO INVEST. IT HAS BEEN MORE IMPORTANT TO FLY MITCHELL ROUND THE WORLD OR HAVE A LARGE DELEGATION ACCOMPANY CHRISTIE TO MEET THE POPE OR TO SPEND FOUR HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS PROPPING UP ZNS OVER THE PAST DECADES.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 9 months ago

Just about everyone knows that Paul Maynard is so corrupt and crooked that if he swallowed a long nail it would come out of his butt the next day looking like a cork screw!

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TheMadHatter 1 year, 9 months ago

If only there was an alternative to the PLP and FNM governments that the Bahamian people could choose. When will Mr. McCartney step aside for the good of the nation and allow one of the other very talented members of his Party to take the reigns? As Trump would say "very sad."

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DaGoobs 1 year, 9 months ago

Power Secure obviously is not the answer to our electricity woes. $900,000 per month and what is any different from what we have had to endure in the provision of electricity by BEC since the 1970's? Power Secure was supposed to come in and improve on what we had but no sign of that anywhere on the horizon. And having them regulated by URCA seems a monumental waste of time, money and resources. URCA is not doing anything about BPL's rates only focusing on sale of excess solar and other power to the grid which the small man will never benefit from as solar panels and batteries are not something he can afford, so only businesses and rich home owners will benefit from this program. Likewise, URCA has apublic consultation going on over BPL's consumer protection plan but the public would be hard-pressed to even know that the consultation is going on. URCA published information about it on their website then in typical fashion went absolutely quiet about it. Not one public meeting, no ads in the paper or on TV, no discussions about it on the call-in shows, NOTHING. Why? I suspect they don't want to explain any of it to the public or take any heat from the public over the nonsense that BPL wants to perpetrate on the the public like when URCA were dealing with the price increase application by Cable Bahamas. This is not how URCA is supposed to operate; they are supposed to act in the interest of the public and keep the public fully informed and engaged on anything that comes across URCA's desk that might adversely affect the public. All they have done is changed the law to benefit themselves while forgetting their mission and purpose. Time for a change at the top.

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The_Oracle 1 year, 9 months ago

burying power cables does not eliminate lightning strikes. Just makes them harder to detect and fix.

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