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$1.2m To Be Spent On Upgrade For Bpl Clifton Pier Substation

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

WORKS Minister Desmond Bannister yesterday announced a $1.2m allocation for infrastructural upgrades at Bahamas Power and Light's Clifton Pier substation.

Addressing the June 25 island-wide outage, where a lightning strike disabled the station's entire system, Mr Bannister yesterday said the station's transformer cable box and switch gear will have to be replaced as a result of the incident.

According to the Carmichael MP, equipment at the substation is extremely old and should have been replaced years ago.

He said during the weather event, one major transmission line, the Skyline 132,000-volt overhead line, was struck by lightning and tripped, resulting in outages in western and southern New Providence.

Mr Bannister said the system was starting to recover from this event when a flash over occurred in the 33,000-volt cable box of the primary transformer at the Clifton Pier Plant.

He added that, given the location of the transformer, it would have been imperative that a fault of this nature be immediately and automatically isolated from the system to avoid a shutdown.

For this reason, Mr Bannister acknowledged the transformer is controlled by a 33,000-volt circuit breaker.

He added that despite the circuit protection recognising the fault, the circuit breaker did not open to isolate the problem, resulting in the protection of the online generation at Clifton Pier tripping those units offline to safeguard them.

Mr Bannister said: "Accordingly, BPL is not able to find parts for the equipment, and therefore additional back up protection, such as circuit breaker failure protection, was not available to provide further isolation of the fault.

"As a result, the problem remained connected to the network triggering the shutdown of all remaining online generation at the Blue Hills Plant and the subsequent island-wide outage," he added.

Holding up a blown-up photograph that depicted the torched cable box, Mr Bannister issued an apology for the circumstances that led to the event.

In doing so, he said the legacy issues which have hampered the modernisation of BPL are being addressed by the present regime, namely the infrastructural upgrades which have left the system opened to faults in recent years.

"Substation maintenance teams at Clifton Pier and in-field operations have commenced this effort," Mr Bannister told the House of Assembly yesterday.

"It was the company's intent to replace the switch gear at the Clifton Pier 33 kV Substation B. The needed funding - $1.2m - for this work has been included in the upcoming year's capital budget.

"In the interim however, field operations teams, plant and protection, will assist Clifton Pier in reviewing the functioning of the existing equipment to ensure proper response to fault conditions," he added.

In May, BPL announced plans to contract a foreign expert to gauge its electrical service system for potential instabilities.

In an interview with The Tribune last month, BPL chairwoman Darnell Osborne said the identification of an adequate protection system would be "very high" on that expert's list of things to do.

Her comments came in direct response to the June 25 outage.

The expert was expected to arrive in the Nassau last week.

Comments

John 2 months, 2 weeks ago

So when is the window dressing going to stop and some real upgrades be done to the power company? Like at least one new, energy efficient generator.

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concernedcitizen 2 months, 2 weeks ago

We have signed a deal w Shell N A to build a new power plant that burns LNG and will be completed by 2022 .Until the plant is completed they will provide temporary generators.We are not putting up any money ,Shell will lower rates and collect some of the revenue from bill paying customers .

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Alex_Charles 4 days, 16 hours ago

We are putting up the money with inflated bills. BPL still has a titanic's amount of debt that must be paid as well.

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sheeprunner12 2 months, 2 weeks ago

We have a long history of the performance of BEC/BPL to compare the eventual outcome of this summer ......... We will be able to assess this by the fall .......... Hopefully, the upgrades will pay off.

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rawbahamian 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Bumbling, Powerless & Lousy should be what B.P.L. stands for. This new entity got into this with their eyes wide open and they KNOW what the issues are with the entire electrical grid but yet they tell us they need an " EXPERT" to tell them what is wrong !!! So what are all of those overpaid clowns receiving salaries for ???

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sheeprunner12 2 months, 2 weeks ago

For the payscales and payouts provided at BPL ......... we should get better service .......... They do not get school janitresses' salaries, benefits and pensions ........ You get guys with NO skills or proficiency standards getting six-figure packages after bullshitting the system for decades ........ TRAVESTY

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Alex_Charles 2 months, 2 weeks ago

So... we spent all the flipping money on Carnival and we could have done' this all this time?

You really can't make this up.

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Clamshell 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Prediction: $500K will be stolen outright. The other $700K will go to contracts to political friends who will provide $200K worth of equipment that will not coordinate with the existing equipment, and the lights will continue to go out 3 times a week.

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John 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Many seem to forget that BPL has been under foreign management for at last five years. So what has that foreign company done in five years to enhance and improve BPL/BEC for sure they have created a large 'dump bin' to terminate and get rid of most of BPL's experienced and senior staff. And yes many are receiving hefty and handsome packages after many years with the company. But what then will be BPL's next move? To load the company with foreign workers under the pretense that it cannot find qualified Bahamian workers? And if the equipment is soo old and antiquated why have no major units been replaced after five years. Is it easier to replace qualified people than it is to replace old equipment?

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concernedcitizen 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Actually the FNM cancelled the contract w North Carolinas Power secure which was just a way for the PLP to keep the blame off of them and kick backs were probably involved .Power secure did not bring in hordes of foreign workers it was a management contract .The reality is we have not been able to provide reliable power at a reasonable rate since the late 1970,s .You can choose whatever excuse you want but facts are facts .We have now signed a deal w Shell N A to build a new plant , lower rates . .I know you like to make up "facts " to fit your whitey is always bad narrative and the black man is easily duped ,,but this is the reality of the situation and the facts .

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Alex_Charles 2 months, 2 weeks ago

having a foreign company run Bec was a waste of money. It really changed nothing and our power kept going off.We also still get extorted by the fat cats at their union.

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DDK 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Wonder how much of the $1.2 million was frittered away on the recent China trip?

When is Government going to stop throwing our tax money at experts being "consulted" and either hire competent individuals to run the corporation properly or sell the bloody thing?

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