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Thousands Enraged As Load Shedding Continues

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

BAHAMAS Power and Light expects New Providence load shedding to continue until rental generators are installed at its Blue Hills Station and offline equipment is brought back on stream.

This means long power cuts may continue up to June 30, when BPL expects its additional rental generators to be completely installed.

New Providence residents have suffered through almost daily load shedding since June 19. This despite BPL chairman Donovan Moxey proclaiming earlier this year that officials did not expect load shedding this summer.

The outages, which in some cases extended beyond the two-hour rotation interval promised by BPL, tortured thousands of households, leading many consumers to take to social media to air their grievances with the process. Many called for BPL to release a load shedding schedule, so people could plan their days accordingly.

Yesterday afternoon, BPL posted a statement to its Facebook page explaining the “temporary loss of two of its generating assets over the weekend exacerbated the load shedding” on New Providence, “extending the times and multiplying the number of outages experienced across the island”.

“One of the lost assets was returned to service by Sunday afternoon, with work proceeding to bring the other asset back online as quickly as possible,” BPL’s statement noted.

On Friday, BPL said its Aggreko rental units are due in at the Blue Hills Power Station by June 30, adding these rental units will “alleviate the demand challenges BPL is facing”.

BPL began load shedding earlier this month as a result of problems experienced with its generating assets at the Blue Hills Power Station, the company said.

Due to increasing temperatures, customer demand on the network in New Providence spiked over the preceding days and the loss of generation coupled with the increase in demand resulted in a shortfall of generation and the need for load shedding, BPL said.

“Our teams at the Blue Hills Station are working feverishly to resolve the concern with the generators and return them to service as soon as possible to offset in the short term the current shortfall,” acting Chief Operations Officer Ian Pratt said.

“Further, BPL wishes to advise that the installation of additional rental generation at the Blue Hills Station is nearing completion. It is expected that this additional power will be available by the week ending June 30, 2019. This additional rental will bolster BPL’s available generation and put us in a better position to meet the increasing customer demand during this summer period.”

The generation shortfall plus the spike in demand means that BPL expects to be load shedding almost daily, in two hour rotations, until the rental generators are installed and the equipment that is out of commission for repair or maintenance is brought back into service.

Attempts by The Tribune over the weekend to establish a schedule for outages yielded no results, with officials at various levels in the company referring this daily’s questions and requests to someone else.

Up to press time yesterday, reported outages continued to hit indiscriminately.

As the company struggled to keep the island’s lights on, BPL officials posted several updates to its Facebook page.

However, the updates only addressed the location of outages and all of the notices seem to come after the outage was reported to have occurred.

With each notice, customers grew increasingly more exasperated.

One consumer posted to BPL’s Facebook page: “Can we get a pre-update? Something that can let us know when an area will be off? I’m sure Bahamians would love to be conveniently out if they could.”

Another customer wrote: “If the load shedding (is a planned) event, there is no reason why the public can’t get a schedule. This leads me to believe that BPL is not being truthful and these power cuts are not as they say. Out of all the utility (companies) BPL is the worst.”

When contacted yesterday for an accurate outage schedule, BPL’s Director of Communications Quincy Parker said that Friday’s statement addressed the utility’s plans moving forward.

Back in April, Mr Moxey told reporters: “We don’t expect any load shedding.”

He added: “There are several generation assets that we’re looking to make sure that we maintain properly (and) appropriately so that we will be ready for the summer. We are also looking at bringing in some additional rental generation to cover the needs in the summer. So from our perspective, we’re doing everything that we can in order to prepare for the load that we’re required to deliver during the summer months.”

Yesterday BPL noted it generates, transports and distributes electricity to over 101,000 customers around the country. BPL said while it is mandated to ensure there is sufficient supply to meet demand, electricity demand “is not consistent because of peak periods when demand is higher and continuous growth in the number of customers requiring electricity services.”

BPL added, “Load shedding is done as a controlled option to respond to unplanned events to protect the electricity power system from a total blackout.”

Comments

tell_it_like_it_is 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Same 'ole BPL...
Lack of solutions, abundance of excuses! smh

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DDK 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Bad as it is their total inefficiency and corruption has led to the RENTING of generators and the throwing of good money after bad, what happens when the bozos fail to honour the rental agreement and 'forget' to pay their bills?

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themessenger 2 months, 3 weeks ago

You people need to "lighten" up a little bit. We know the old equipment keeps breaking down, thats why the government just spent a great deal of money buying six new generators, five of which have been delivered to Clifton, with the sixth to be delivered this Wednesday. They then have to be installed, not a two or three day exercise, so to claim the government is doing nothing to alleviate the situation, like old woman Fred Mitchell's bleating all the time, is disingenuous to say the least.

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The_Oracle 2 months, 3 weeks ago

New generators cannot solve the intrinsic incompetence and total dysfunction that is BEC, with BPL management. I think Nassau aught to be preparing for the total failure that seems imminent. How is the distribution system going to handle more supply and hence the higher demand that will result? Shifting the pressure from Generation to transmission/distribution is just shifting the problem.

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observer2 2 months, 3 weeks ago

The public will continue to suffer for generations to come as it has with generations past from the mismanagement of our energy resources. Our energy costs is 20 times the cost of production in Florida (inclusive of back up generators and lost productivity).

Incalculable financial harm is being done to the general public.

You see the entire energy infrastructure complex (both vertically [importation, taxation, shipment, electrical generation] and horizontally [gas stations, electrical grid, all power generators]) is concentrated and tightly controlled by the Government, a select few business interests and Shell (a multi national energy conglomerate). Who are profiting immensely from the status quo for generations. No one can touch the system.

These interest have suppressed the introduction of renewables, smart grids and an energy policy that makes sense. Instead of carbon based fuels declining, our consumption is increasing with the "new" generators using "last centuries" technology.

There is no hope.

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bahamianson 2 months, 3 weeks ago

How about proper planning? If you are going to fix the generators,then why not do this in the winter months as opposed to the summer months. Is that to much to ask? Think before you make decisions that impact hundreds of thousands. Heat index of 93 degrees and the electricity is off?

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observer2 2 months, 3 weeks ago

bahamianson. these guys have no interest in properly planning. the profits are so large, the monopoly grip so tight and the politics so entrenched that there is not time to properly plan.

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DWW 2 months, 3 weeks ago

how long till hte union burns them up (intentionally?)?

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 months, 3 weeks ago

The Aggreko rental units (generators) are costing BPL a fortune. The news media should be investigating whether any muck-a-mucks tied to Minnis, Bannister and/or Moxey are somehow involved as intermediaries in the rental arrangements.

We have this BPL nightmare because incompetent Minnis, Turnquest and Bannister allowed themselves to be pre-occupied with all kinds of other much less important things, e.g. costly and wurtless investigations of previous Christie-led PLP government, costly purchase of Lucayan Hotel, etc. etc.

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