By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
AS he apologised on behalf of the government for Bahamas Power and Light's failure to offer uninterrupted service, Acting Prime Minister K Peter Turnquest revealed that generators from Grand Bahama are on the way to Nassau to assist with the continuing generation shortfall.
According to Mr Turnquest, a fire in May at BPL's Bimini facility that damaged two engines exacerbated challenges with the power provider.
When this happened, he said, two engines which were being utilised in the capital were sent to Bimini to assist with issues there. He said equipment is now being sent from Freeport to New Providence amid continuous load shedding and power cuts.
The East Grand Bahama MP's comments came as an island wide blackout struck the island around 11.45am. By 12.20pm, the first engine was brought back online, restoring power to some consumers. By 2pm, BPL reported that 85 percent of the network was up and running.
Initially, BPL said it would have taken three hours for the entire island to be reconnected. Despite this, people complained that they had no power well past 6 o'clock in the evening. The power provider did not say what led to the blackout, only that the matter was under investigation.
When he was contacted yesterday, BPL chairman Donovan Moxey would not say much, but insisted yesterday's incident was not connected to rolling power cuts which started two weekends ago. That situation prompted BPL to issue an apology over what it described as an anomaly.
Mr Turnquest said: "The good news is we do have a plan and an anticipated date when we will have a stable, reliable system.
"The unfortunate news is that between here and there, there will be some level of discomfort, but certainly BPL has a plan to try and minimise as much as possible those disruptions beginning with restoring the generation that has been lost as well as supplementing the rental generators that continue to be put online. Of course when you have fires in Bimini that sort of throws the plans off a little bit because two engines had to be taken from here and sent to Bimini to supplement what's happening there. There are another two generators I believe it is, that are coming out of Freeport to supplement what is here. Again they will be online as quickly as technically possible to get us over this hump while we wait for the final resolution, which we anticipate will be done in the early fall.
"This is not a situation that has occurred overnight and we've hit that critical phase now where we have to have significant intervention," Mr Turnquest also said.
"BPL has acquired several new generators that are going to help it solve the generation problem and at the same time beginning to address its distribution issue, which is equally a vexing problem. The fact of the matter is that our plant has been allowed to fall into some level of neglect.
"It is a very old plant and as a result we are finding that it's difficult to maintain, it's difficult to find parts and difficult to find people to operate it efficiently and again is a very manual plant and distribution system that is overworking the staff and not able to keep up with the demands."
He said the government understands the inconvenience that no amount of words will be able to ease or soothe.
"It's an unfortunate development that has happened as a result of years of accumulated problems that have come to a head and we recognise the inconvenience and we certainly want to express from the government side our regret that we have to go through this.
"The good news is there is light at the end of the tunnel and we expect to have the issues resolved as quickly as possible both in terms of the long term solution and the interim solution developing at the moment," Mr Turnquest said.