By RASHAD ROLLE & RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporters
A WIDESPREAD power outage struck New Providence yesterday due to a cable fault at Bahamas Power and Light’s Big Pond substation, leaving many residents without electricity for hours and delaying flights at Lynden Pindling International Airport.
When contacted about the problem, Bahamas Electrical Workers Union President Paul Maynard said it was a case of BPL’s aging equipment breaking down. He told The Tribune: “It’s a miracle we get through the summer.”
BPL released a statement after 7pm about the incident which said a cable fault developed around 2.47pm that caused power outages to portions of central, north and west New Providence. BPL said affected areas included Albany, Paradise Island, Gladstone Road, Grove West, Cable Beach, East Hill, Collins Avenue, Grants Town and Big Pond.
BPL said generation had been restored to more than 50 percent of affected customers and apologised for the inconvenience.
BPL also said the company’s goal is to provide power at the lowest rates possible.
The power failure left many people irate. “Might as well say power is off island-wide because that’s everywhere basically,” one person said.
Adding to frustration was that electricity flickered on and off intermittently throughout the day, causing some to fear the brown outs would damage appliances.
The issue caused panic at LPIA where hopeful passengers reacted angrily to misinformation that flights were cancelled for the day.
“The Lynden Pindling International Airport wishes to advise the public that air traffic services to the airport were impacted by a loss of communications at approximately 3pm this afternoon due to power outage,” LPIA said in a statement posted to its Facebook page around 5pm. “Flights scheduled to depart LPIA at that time were delayed. We are reliably informed that the matter has been resolved and air traffic services have resumed for all flights.”
Mr Maynard said the outage was predictable.
“I keep telling y’all,” he said. “BPL in bad shape. Our situation is terrible. Only the Almighty God keeping you on now. We have aging equipment that need to be upgraded. It is what it is. I telling you it’s a miracle we get through the summer.”
When contacted, BPL Chairman Dr Donovan Moxey did not provide much information.
“We had an incident at Big Pond substation and we are working as quickly as possible to fix the issue,” Mr Moxey said yesterday afternoon, adding BPL would release a statement on the matter.
New Providence residents have had to suffer through periodic power cuts this year, as in previous years, because BPL has grappled to keep the lights on.
In mid-October, it was reported that fault on a BPL cable left customers in western New Providence with no electricity for several hours on a Saturday night.
Prior to that, there were intermittent outages in different areas earlier in the month.
There were also periodic outages earlier in the year.