By SANCHESKA DORSETT
Tribune Staff Reporter
PAUL Maynard, president of the Bahamas Electrical Workers Union, has warned of potential flooding at Bahamas Power and Light’s Clifton Pier Power Plant after damage sustained during Hurricane Matthew last October was never repaired.
In an interview with The Tribune yesterday, Mr Maynard said BPL would be “in trouble” if the roof on the control room to the Clifton Pier Power Station is not repaired before Hurricane Irma’s potential landing in The Bahamas this week.
He said even if repairs began today, they would not be done by Friday, when Irma is expected to hit.
“The roof is a mess and it has been like that since the last hurricane. Back then, we were told it would cost $100,000 to fix so I don’t know what it would cost now,” he said.
“At this point, even if they make attempts to repair the roof now, it won’t be done before the hurricane comes. The best bet is to open up the other side and let the breeze blow through. They will have to make an attempt to deal with this and place bricks over some plastic to guard the equipment, that’s what we will have to do. The repairs are urgent and we would be in trouble if this hurricane hits because we are still weak from the last hurricane.”
Mr Maynard said the damage to the roof is mainly over the administrative office, but if that office floods the water can damage the engines.
“The equipment in the office is what we would have to worry about but the machines would not be fine if that office floods,” he said.
“We have a bunch of pumps and we can pump the water out if we need to but honestly we just need to get rid of that power station altogether. We need to change the engines. This issue should have been dealt with a long time ago and now we are just coping.”
Last December, Mr Maynard raised the alarm about conditions at Clifton Pier, when he threatened industrial action if the government did not immediately repair the damage to the plant caused by the passage of Hurricane Matthew in October.
At the time, Mr Maynard said the situation at Clifton required “urgent attention” and the environment was too dangerous for his members to continue to work.
In December, he said the covering on the smokestacks at the plant was “peeling” and falling to the ground. He said at any moment, one of the metal plates could “hit one of the workers” severely injuring them.
Days later, BPL confirmed plans to repair the external structure of the damaged smoke stacks at the company’s Clifton Pier plant.
The engines at the Clifton Pier Plant have not been operating at full capacity for several months. BPL has been relying heavily on the engines from the Blue Hill Power Plant, which have caused a significant increase in electricity bills.