By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
THE emergency fix by a US specialist team will have little impact on Bahamas Power and Light's load shedding, according to Paul Maynard, the Bahamas Electrical Workers Union's (BEWU) president.
However, Mr Maynard acknowledged the return of an additional 20 megawatts of power - which the American team is working on at the Baillou Hills Power Plant - will help.
"Who am I to question the prime minister?" he said yesterday. "It is what it is. That ain't gonna solve the problem but it will help. You gotta help it some way."
In a statement on Wednesday night, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced a six-man team of specialists from Philadelphia Gear was on the ground working to restore additional power to the Baillou Hills plant as he lamented BPL's unacceptable power cuts.
Yesterday, Mr Maynard explained the specialists were working on the gearbox of engine G7.
An attempt to return engine G10 to service failed on Wednesday night, according to Mr Maynard, who said the machine could supply 21 megawatts of power. Another downed machine, G5, has an output of two megawatts but will take months to repair, he said.
Mr Maynard explained it was critical to bring more machines online so that other machines could be taken offline for sorely needed maintenance. He said engine G9 had the capacity for 20 megawatts but was currently only producing around 10 megawatts due to lack of maintenance.
Mr Maynard believes the company's decision to direct all its financing towards the $95m Wartsila acquisition left it "unable to meet maintenance goals". That new power plant is expected to be finished by December.
The outspoken union chief maintained the energy monopoly's management and board has under-estimated the generation capacity required for summer.
BPL's peak demand is 250 megawatts and is currently experiencing a 40 megawatt shortfall.
The company began daily load shedding on June 19, but frequent power cuts were an issue even before that time.
In his Wednesday statement, Dr Minnis revealed that BPL officials briefed Cabinet on a short-term plan to provide relief to residents and businesses. That plan also includes returning to service an additional nine megawatts of power from BPL's Aggreko units, he said.