By INIGO 'NAUGHTY' ZENICAZELAYA
WHILE entertaining some of my fellow professional stand-up comedians, who were in town recently, you know libations were a must, so off to the pub we went.
They were preforming onboard a cruise ship that was in port for the day, and as soon as we sat down at the bar, BPL struck.
Load shed!! Blackout!!
Nonetheless, despite some funny jabs about our “Bahamian” power company, and Nassau “having more blackouts than a bar full of drunks,” the beers were still ice cold. So, we decided to sweat it out.
I was hoping that after a few “cold ones” the topic would shift from the train wreck that is BPL to something more refreshing like NFL football, but I wasn’t that lucky.
Thanks to administrations past, present and most probably future, I had to shamefully field questions about why everyday Bahamian citizens have outrageous power bills that keeps them poor, and why the cries for an affordable, consistent, efficient power supply continues to fall on deaf “political” ears.
As I tried to deflect to another topic, slowly sipping my brew, I wondered to myself what kind of callous governments we have elected over the past years – right up until present – that makes it difficult for citizens to use solar power, especially in a country like ours, which lies directly in the sun.
Two brews in, (and more ribbing from my friends) I was a veritable cornucopia of questions:
Why are power bills more costly than mortgage payments?
When are we going to try solar, wind or hydro power?
Why does BPL put out a load shedding list on Facebook when usually the list is completely wrong?
Is it to keep targeting the same areas for load sheds repeatedly without accountability, while hoping no one notices?
Or is it because those lists are a joke and no one is even keeping track?
Is anyone keeping track?
How come load sheds used to be two hours long in the “good old days” but they’re three to four (or Heaven forbid five) hours these days?
How come my lights have been cut seven days in a row? I mean, BPL doesn’t have a light-cutting Sabbath or something? Not one day off?
The topic of power provision in Nassau, has had me perturbed for the past 20 years, from BEC to BPL, and every load shed in between.
We actually live in a country small enough that real change can happen.
The Bahamas has the potential to be a good example to the region in terms of affordable, sustainable power provision.
Instead, it seems that a few powerful bad actors have managed to halt national progress for their own personal interests and gains.
Diesel engines that power the entire island?
It’s been proven inefficient, and has cost the citizens of the Bahamas millions of dollars.
We could almost certainly be energy independent and showing the world what energy efficiency looks like while saving Bahamians money that could be life changing.
I used to believe that a nation like the Bahamas was small enough, and our citizens powerful enough, that it could be an example of the people forcing real change.
When will the light go on in our heads as voters that it’s time to put down the red, yellow and green shirts, reject empty campaign promises, and come together to put pressure on the powers that be?
Surely this no-end-in-sight fossil fuel dependence proves we are being led by dinosaurs.
As an alternative, we can all start living out of our cars.
Which is where I am right now, charging my laptop via usb, writing this column.
This could all turn around for the next generation of Bahamians, but only with leaders who have vision.
Then again, it must be hard to have vision when you’re accustomed to living in the dark.