By SANCHESKA DORSETT
Tribune Staff Reporter
BAHAMAS Power and Light (BPL) is at a "critical stage" and if the company does not get new equipment immediately, the summer will be plagued with power outages, according to President of the Bahamas Electrical Workers Union (BEWU) Paul Maynard.
Mr Maynard told The Tribune on Friday the "engines are shot" and even with the added power from the rental engines, it will not be enough to stop the outages. However, he said BEC workers are professional and will do all they can to ensure the outages are not long.
Mr Maynard's comments came a day after a night of outages in New Providence on Thursday. Some customers complained about up to three outages in a 24-hour period.
"The problem is now critical," Mr Maynard said. "We need new equipment, there will continue to be blackouts throughout the summer if we do not get them immediately. The engines are tripping because the load has increased because it is summer. Everyone has their air conditioning on and so the ancient engines are overloaded.
"The engines are shot and, so until we get new equipment, this is what you can expect. We are professionals at BEC and we will do what we have to do, the power will go off but it will not be for a long period of time. We will do our best to keep the power on but there is only so much we can do, even with the rentals it will not be easy."
Several customers vented their frustration on social media yesterday.
"BPL/BEC are you guys trying to break some type of record tonight. This is ridiculous." one person said. "This is the fourth time current turn off in the past three hours. This gonna be a long summer. When are you guys going to get it together."
Another person wrote: "Worthless I say! I do not care who is the new government, this needs to be fixed. Bahamas Power and Light, this island is 21 by 7, why can't you fix this problem?"
Earlier this month, 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.
BPL’s failure comes 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.
However the country has still been plagued with repeated power outages, especially in the summer months.
ThisIsOurs 5 years, 10 months ago
Basically, it wasn't my fault.
Why didn't we hear this rebuttal when the bpl made the statement that they were ready for the summer? That was just a week ago.
Socrates 5 years, 10 months ago
The $200m spent on patrol boats for the DF and the $100m guarantee for Bahamasair for new planes, not to mention all that money thrown at BOB, would have been better spent trying to provide reliable electricity in this country. Utility infrastructure is basic to development. but seems we can't grasp that basic fact..
Jonahbay 5 years, 10 months ago
When your electricity usage is $80 and the fuel surcharge is $400. But your electricity been off for half the month, but they bill you by estimate... No escape. Stuck with a government entity that does not work properly, managed by foreigners whose sole job is to take flack for the government. BEC/BPL does not make a profit... It's obvious that we need to start from scratch. Can we drop a bomb on it? Do we even have insurance?
bahamas12345 5 years, 10 months ago
BPL or BEC or whatever they want to call themselves which is ultimately the Government was aware of this at least 4 years ago when Bahamar started there road works. The government knew then that they needed more power for the hotels and in general. Better go and bye a generator cause " It Gonna Be Hot"
OMG 5 years, 10 months ago
I am a supporter of the FNM but all of us have to recognize that the last government spent money like confetti , no accountability, payments made for work not done, no open bidding process to get the best value and on and on and on. With this in mind the infrastructure of the country has been left to decay. Time to swallow our pride and think with our brains not our emotions. Run power lines from Florida where there is an abundance of cheap electricity because this country is so deep in debt that further borrowing only brings the downgrading and devaluation closer and closer. Christie and his ilk have a lot to answer for ,they acted like the captain of a sinking ship ignoring the impending disaster, yet they expect the public to conduct their affairs such as paying taxes on time and paying their bills. So much to be done, for starters instead of making flowers richer with his gaming shops have a national lottery , collect taxes from all the foreign rental property owners, tax all the winter boaters a hook tax.
SP 5 years, 10 months ago
Paul Maynard is another Pillage Loot Plunder goon dinosaur that needs to be eradicated.
No later than March 3rd BAHAMAS Power & Light CEO Pamela Hill expressed optimism that the company will be able to meet generation demands heading into the summer peak season.
How come all of a sudden this well known Pillage Loot Plunder moron jumps out of his crypt prophesying total doom and gloom without new equipment next week?
The country desperately needs to be purged across the board of Pillage Loot Plunder goons like Paul Maynard who are doing all in their power to sabotage PM Minnis!
Resolving the countries power woes requires a three-pronged approach. One, is modernizing & upgrading the present system, two, reducing the total reliance on BPL by implementing residential solar net metering systems, and three, immediately retrofitting and solarizing all government buildings, schools, street lights etc' which will greatly reduce the load on BPL.
All the studies, conclusions and multiple offers for financing were done more than 7 years ago by IDB for then PM Hubert Ingraham.....Nothing happened! Dancing clown Christie inherited these plans, not the least bit surprisingly....Nothing happened again.
EasternGate 5 years, 10 months ago
DDK 5 years, 10 months ago
BEC has been a national disgrace through successive Governments. Surely we have eliminated the useless foreign contractor by now. We should not be renting engines unless we are renting to own. FNM/PLP BEC/BPL SSDD. It IS time for a change and that change means affordable, reliable electricity. Bump this to the top tier of the list FNM! We have a lot of sunshine! Let's put it to use!
sheeprunner12 5 years, 10 months ago
The FNM government needs to scrap the fossil fuel dependent BEC/BPL ........ subsidize every Bahamian household/business place to install solar panel technology ......... then legislate that every unit return excess power to the BPL grid for public consumption ..... That is how you ensure that the people benefit from the FNM green initiatives
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