By FARRAH JOHNSON
BAHAMAS Power and Light Company yesterday revealed boat propellers were responsible for damaging undersea cables, which caused a major blackout in Harbour Island over the Christmas holiday.
In a company statement BPL confirmed that cables connecting Harbour Island at the Three Island Dock site were damaged by the propellers.
Last week, the company issued a series of statements explaining the power outage was caused by two unrelated incidents involving cable failures and the breakdown of the on-island rental generation.
On Thursday, BPL confirmed the rental generators had since been replaced, but said investigations into the cause of the cable failures would not be completed until Friday.
“There are two circuits connecting Harbour Island to mainland Eleuthera at the Three Island Dock crossing, either of which can maintain the supply to Harbour Island. Each circuit is made up of three individual cables. Our investigations have confirmed that four cables were damaged in the incident, effectively knocking out both circuits,” the statement read.
“On three of the cables the damage has been repaired, allowing the return of one of the circuits to service. The fourth cable was damaged in multiple locations and repairs are ongoing.”
According to the statement, both the cables and the on-island generators were used to supply power to Harbour Island.
Still, due to the breakdown of the rental generators, when the cables were damaged by the boat propellers it created an “unavoidable outage”.
BPL said that since the incident was not “immediately reported,” it took some time for their team to find the damage and carry out the needed repairs.
“The damage to the cables, and the fact that the rental generators had failed due to mechanical defects, caused serious power supply issues on the island for a period of over 48 hours,” the statement also said.
“However, as reported, a new cable installed at the Whale Point/South Barr crossing as part of our planned reinforcement works for Harbour Island was used to restore power to portions of the island.”
The company further explained that partial power was restored to the island using the new cable and confirmed that all customers on the island had service restored on Thursday, December 26 by 5pm.
The situation drew the ire of many on the island who complained that the outage ruined the holiday, adding that they suffered through the blackout until about 9.30pm Christmas night.