By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
A RECENT fire at Bahamas Power and Light’s Clifton Pier Plant has had no bearing on ongoing load shedding in New Providence.
According to BPL’s CEO Whitney Heastie, it was a minor incident with engine D8 13 that was rectified, with the unit put back online three hours later. The fire broke out on Friday and was reported at 11.49pm. Mr Heastie said: “We did have an issue on D8 13. They were switching D8 13 over to diesel from heavy fuel oil to bring the unit down and so when they had switched over, obviously diesel being lighter than heavy fuel oil, the gasket did not hold tight and it started to leak right on the manifold that was hot.
“Fortunately folks quickly responded and was able to extinguish the fire. They were able to repair the issues and I think it was three hours later they were able to get the generator back on the system and that’s one of the generators that you saw running today (Sunday) so there was no impairments to that unit as a result of that fire.”
“(It had) no direct effect on load shedding,” he also said. “The seal was replaced on that unit. That unit was one of the two you saw running in Station B today.”
While he confirmed this incident, Mr Heastie shot down questions about a report on a police investigation into a series of fires that crippled infrastructure at BPL’s Clifton Pier Power Plant last year.
“We are here to talk about the current generation issues,” Mr Heastie said. “I am not going to address the fire issues. Let’s have a separate conference on the fires. The loss of Station C is not the reason why we are here today. We had 270 megawatts we had planned in our generation fleet to carry us through summer. It’s not as if we depended on Station C to carry us through this summer. That was not the case.”
The first fire broke out at the plant around 10.30pm Friday, September 7, 2018 and the second blaze erupted Sunday, September 9, 2018 shortly before 10pm.
Two more fires occurred over the course of the following week, one at the Clifton site, and the other at its Blue Hills location. The first blaze wrought unprecedented damage to the Clifton Pier station, forcing a weeklong load shedding exercise in the capital.