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Crisis? This Is A Catastrophe – Maynard Warns ‘No End It Sight’ For Blackouts

Paul Maynard

Paul Maynard

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

THE power generation situation at Bahamas Power and Light has gone beyond crisis mode, having bloomed into a full-fledged “catastrophe”, Bahamas Electrical Workers Union president Paul Maynard said yesterday.

As he railed against the company’s executive leadership, the outspoken union chief shed light on the extent of the existing equipment failure at various BPL facilities, telling The Tribune “there is no relief in sight”.

According to Mr Maynard, one of the Baillou Hills Power Plant’s engines is only producing nine megawatts of power when it should be producing 20.

Additionally the rental Aggreko units are only producing 105 megawatts of 120 megawatts needed. As for the Clifton Pier Power Plant, Mr Maynard said its struggling to “do what it could do”.

These equipment failures are compounded by speculation over a delayed timeline for the completion of the new $95m power plant. Mr Maynard claimed a more realistic date would be March 2020.

Insiders agree, revealing there has been some complications with creating the correct infrastructure for the engines to operate.

“GD 10 is supposed to come back tonight. It’s supposed to but I doubt it will be back until Saturday or Sunday and (engine) number seven, the guys are working around the clock to try and get the gear box fixed, but this is a technical issue - you have to be careful with what you doing. I doubt that will be back until Monday and if anything else goes wrong, you have another problem,” Mr Maynard said in an interview yesterday with The Tribune.

“Pray to God that November is a mild November otherwise we will be load shedding until then. You can’t make this up.

“This has gone beyond a crisis. This is an all out catastrophe.”

He continued: “We have feeders tripping that we didn’t even know was tripping because we load shedding. Nobody knows what’s happening.

“The lights out all over the place at Fort Charlotte and in tourist areas. God forbid we have incident where something happen to one of these tourists.

“This is a greater problem than they are letting on. The minister (of works) and the prime minister needs to step and say they aren’t putting up with this no more.”

Asked if BPL officials had been forthcoming with the timeline for the completion of the $95m power plant, he said: “No. Hell no. From what I see back there, I said March 2020 or even June for that matter.”

BPL officials did not respond to inquiries from The Tribune up to press time yesterday.

This comes as load shedding persisted yesterday morning and into last night in three-hour intervals.

Dozens of residential areas from east to west New Providence were affected.

On Wednesday, this newspaper reported that three BPL generators that provide nearly 70 megawatts of power to thousands of households are offline, with one asset needing at least one month for repairs.

This means that it could be another four weeks before consumers experience some normalcy in their power supply. While 24 megawatts of the 25 megawatts from rental Agrekko units have assisted with the generation shortfall, it has done little to disrupt extended periods of load shedding.

Irate customers told The Tribune this week they have had enough.

“I have lost 13 ceiling fans because we have one in every room. I have lost my fridge. I have lost my water pump. I have lost four of the old-fashioned air conditioning units,” said one Blair resident who did not want to be named.

“This is ridiculous. It has been twice in one day. When I was leaving home at 8.20am to take my grandchildren to summer camp it went off and did not come on again until about 11.50am. Now I just got home to fix dinner and it is off again.

“I might as well say it, they are going to cause someone to be killed,” the angry resident said.

Another customer said she could not understand why certain areas had faced several power cuts in one day. She questioned whether the load shedding was being split evenly.

In a statement this week, BPL said it continues to vigorously pursue all avenues to address obstacles as extended load-shedding periods continued in New Providence last night.

The utility provider apologised for its inability to offer the service it is paid to give each month. Officials will hold a press conference on Sunday about the issue. 

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month, 1 week ago

Paul Maynard and his goon sqad of saboteur engineers on BPL's payroll are obviously die hard supporters of the PLP. All them should be investigated and held accountable for the horrendous harm and great losses they have caused to BPL's residential and commercial customers alike. We now have a full blown national state of emergency and our dimwitted PM and his equally incompetent fellow cabinet ministers are all MIA (missing-in-action)!!

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yeahyasee 1 month, 1 week ago

Last night show that aired with Clint, Maynard and chairman of DNA....Maynard told us what's really happening on the ground. This is a complete disaster and supposedly the CEO will address the issues on Sunday. Hopefully power is on so we could tune in LMAO

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lobsta 1 month, 1 week ago

This is the guy who is responsible for the power outages. From March 2019:

“It will be a cold day in hell, before I, Paul Maynard, allow Wärtsilä to come on a plant that the Bahamian people is paying $95m for and send my staff home,” the union chief told The Tribune yesterday in a harsh rebuke of BPL and the Finnish technology group.

“Let me tell you something, it will be a cold day in hell before Paul Maynard allows Wärtsilä to come in here on a plant we pay $95m for and run it, sending the staff that I represent home.

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DDK 1 month, 1 week ago

Are this guy and his cohorts not a huge part of the catastrophe that is BEC?

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akbar 1 month, 1 week ago

Like 90% of all businesses both public and private in this country the problem lies in poor management and lack of ongoing proper maintenance. Plenty blame to go around. Right now we need solutions, the problem is obvious.

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TheMadHatter 1 month, 1 week ago

Didnt we just celebrate independence on July 10th????? LOL LOL LOL LOL. No dancing in the streets now. Every year the government fools the people into dancing and every year the dumb people of the Bahamas get up and dance. I dont blame government for doing nothing. Happy dancing people? They dont have no problems.

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TigerB 1 month, 1 week ago

I think that plant is just old. I remember moving to Nassau from Abaco in 1972 as a lil boy. BEC was rolling, no blackouts and low light bills. It needed to change. A move like what bernard Nottage did with the defence force boats need to be done... just do it. It will be foot in ya chest from the opposition and you may even loose an election, but hey its need to be done.

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Raptor22 1 month, 1 week ago

Blackouts / loadshedding began after PM Pindling was elected

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John 1 month, 1 week ago

Even a blind mand could see what is going on at BPL is a criminal conspiracy. The situation was bad at first then it was suggested that an American company be brought in to manage BPL. The company was recommended by the then US government. They came in and things went to bad to worse to totally catastrophic. There were major fires that damaged or destroyed essential equipment, boards were seated and fired, managers came and went and if BPL was a four-legged dog it is now trying to walk on one leg. The other three have been. decommissioned. and are not usable. Despite the highly publicizing of the arrival of new generators, BPL is less capable of generating need capacities of power in New Providence and is just as much dependent on fossil fuels as it ever was. And so what exactly happened with this company over the past ten years? Is BPL being used as a dumping ground for that heavy Bunker C fuel that is finding less and less usefulness around the world? In fact, it is banned in more parts of the world and even where it is allowed, it is not to run a full-time power plant, but for industrial and manufacturing applications. So is that it, or at least a major part of BPL's problem and the problem with energy generation and distribution in the Bahamas? Is this country merely a dumping ground for this sludge so they keep us dumb and stupid and sweating in the dark because they have no intention of improving and upgrading and modernizing and making more efficient the power grid. The Kissinger Reports clearly states that an effective means of taking over a country is to take control of its energy suplies, among other things. So while Bahamians and their businesses suffer, Bahamians are flocking to the US in droves to do their shopping and to escape the misery of the long and frequent power cuts. ANd tourists are having sour and dark vacations. Are we there yet?

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ThisIsOurs 1 month, 1 week ago

Actually our current situation can be laid 100% at the feet of the man who gave the order to restart an engine despite being warned by an engineer that it was unsafe to do so. That man who has no experience running a power plant and clearly lacks knowledge of the running of those engines. along with the minister who put him there and the PM who ignored the boards warnings, they are 100% to blame. Yes the situation was pretty bad before the fire but it went to catastrophic after.

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moncurcool 1 month, 1 week ago

Paul Maynard is the last person who should be talking on the BPL matter. He is one of those responsible for it. Hin and his union fight progress tooth and nail.

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Jetflt 1 month, 1 week ago

BPLs power outages are a national disgrace and the silence and lack of action by this government is even more disgraceful! Where is the accountability???? I know - “accountability” is a very foreign concept in the Bahamas - always has been - always will be! And if you wonder why - look no further than your duly elected government. And frankly, I don’t give a damn whether you’re a PLP or a FNM. I always find that leaders - political leaders or business leaders always succeed when they fight and act for what’s right and for the good of their people. No one gives a damn whether you’re black, white, PLP, FNM or of some other persuasion. But this Country will never figure that out. That’s why thousands of Bahamians have left the Bahamas over the years to seek a future elsewhere. And you know what - it’s paid off!

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Raptor22 1 month, 1 week ago

Tribune Jan 8, 1973 “BEC have corrected problems and now we’re up to scratch and loadshedding is a thing of the past: PM. “We made a ‘boo boo’ and we ordered some engines that really didn’t perform up to scratch, but now we’re up to scratch and loadshedding is a thing of the past,” Prime Minister Lynden Pindling declared Friday at the official opening of the $15m Blue Hills Power-Water Complex. The period of 1967-1970 encompassed ‘The years the lights failed’ and ‘we shudder to think of them’ but with the coming online of the Blue Hills Complex’s generating power the energy crisis is over and the preliminary planning has been completed for the addition of further equipment third and fourth were cancelled.

Tribune Jan 25, 1973 "PM claimed recently it would be ‘a thing of the past’ but loadshedding again after trouble at Blue Hill plant: Ever since Prime Minister Lynden Pindling declared 20 days ago that load shedding was a ‘thing of the past’ the Bahamas Electricity Corp has been doing just that - loadshedding – at irregular intervals and in widely separated areas”

Nassau Guardian July 7, 1981 “Power cuts jolt island economy - further, this development has occurred right at the beginning of the Ministry of Tourism’s Goombay Summer promotional programme. Tourists have reportedly packed their bags en masse, especially those on pre-packaged group tours, and left for other destinations.

Tribune July 11, 1981 “Concern over utilities: The constant malfunctioning of the nation’s utility systems is causing citizens ‘intense concern over their and their country’s future economic welfare’, Official Opposition leader Normon Solomon told the House of Assembly. The nation’s major industry ‘tourism’ he said, has been dealt another severe and adverse blow. Thousands of vacationers who were here to enjoy a July 4th holiday soon found themselves on their way home filled with disgust and defamatory comments about the Bahamas, he said.”

Tribune Oct 25, 1983 “Dark night for PLP delegates: PLP delegates attending the opening session of the party’s national convention at the Holiday Inn hotel last night were forced to leave the convention hall around 9pm, fanning themselves frantically with their programmes, when a power failure plunged Paradise Island into darkness for about 45 minutes. Lady Pindling wilts in the heat of the Holiday Inn as the power was cut for about 45 minutes, delaying her husband’s speech by an hour, at the opening of the PLP’s 28th Annual Convention last night.”

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BONEFISH 1 month, 1 week ago

The problems with the electricity supply on the island of New Providence has persisted from the days of Sir Lynden Pindling.We are right next door to one of the best utility company in the US, which is FPL.Did not any one have the sense to reach out to them for advice and their expertise?I have lost fans,freezer and refrigerator to power surges.It is just crazy.I am so frustrated now.

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Raptor22 1 month, 1 week ago

I had hoped this FNM government would go with Florida Power and Light or its parent company for Solar or any alternative affordable clean energy but very disappointed in the FNM. We are in a crisis, and where is the Prime Minister? Silent. MIA. Why is he not addressing this on national TV? I also give up on Bannister, and the BPL Board.

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licks2 1 month ago

The problem is being worked on as we speak. . .SHELL NA will bring up the rear in about 2 years. . .SOLUTIONS TO A 40 YEARS OLD PROBLEM IN 2 SHORT YEARS!!! WE WOULD NOT HAVING THESE SERIOUS PROBLEM IF IT WAS NOT FOR THAT "SERIOUS PROBLEMS" WHO NOBODY KNOWS ABOUT . . .RIGHT AFTER THIS MAN "VOWED" THAT IT WILL BE A COLD DAY IN HELL IF HE SITS BY AND DO NOTHING "FOR THEM TO COME HERE AND HARM MY MEMBERS JOBS"!! WATCH PROGRESS BEING MADE WHILE YINNA CARRY ON LIKE A YARD FULL OF CHICKENS!!

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