By Youri Kemp
THE chief executive of BPL, Whitney Heastie, said he was "stunned" by the state of equipment at the company in a new video released by the power supplier.
Mr Heastie promised that upgrades are coming as he warned about the state of long-standing disrepair of power generating facilities - with changes expected by next year.
In a video produced by BPL that aired on television last night and is on BPL's YouTube page, Mr Heastie said some of the systems in both the operations and maintenance sections BPL are "archaic".
He said some of the equipment still uses out-dated floppy disk drives. Mr Heastie said one of the control rooms at BPL was built in the 1970s and one of the machines shut down nine months ago was operating from that control room.
Mr Heastie said they are currently upgrading both facilities and management and procedural processes.
He said BPL is designing a centralised generation control so they won't have three stations operating in "silos" but will be operated from a central control centre to be online by next year.
BPL has been going through a year of severe power disruptions and load-shedding exercises. Chairman Dr Donovan Moxey said they are doing everything in their power to restore trust.
In an article published this week, Dr Moxey said: "This summer, customers of Bahamas Power and Light have yet again endured frustrating periods of load-shedding as generation capacity has failed to meet demand for electricity. Prime Minister, the Most Honorable Dr Hubert A Minnis, was correct - this was a crisis for families who could not cook meals, small business owners who could not complete transactions, and every Bahamian who had their daily life disrupted by these periods without power."
Dr Moxey also said: "Our generation fleet in some cases is almost 40 years old. From a practical standpoint, that means when parts are needed they can be difficult to procure or simply may no longer be available.
"Demand for electricity has grown dramatically in New Providence. Unfortunately, this growing demand was not matched by a parallel investment to increase generation capacity. This means that today, while our peak demand has now grown to about 250MW a day we only have the capacity to generate about 210MW of power each day. The 40MW shortfall in generation led to load shedding throughout the summer.
"The good news is that, despite a number of setbacks, BPL has returned the first of the two failed generators at Blue Hills Power Station to service, making up about half the 40MW shortfall. The second unit is under the inspection of a specialist even now, and we will continue to update the public on that unit's return to service.
The bad news is that even with both of these generators back online, we still have no excess capacity in the system. That means that if another one of the aging generators fails, load- shedding may need to resume."