By RIEL MAJOR
Tribune Staff Reporter
ASSISTED living facilities and non-profit organisations dedicated to fight hunger in New Providence have lost medication, food and refrigerators due to daily load shedding exercises by Bahamas Power and Light.
Phillip Poitier, proprietor of Gourmet Lunch Box, told The Tribune yesterday he had to discard his refrigerator and everything in it after the power went off every day for an entire week.
Mr Poitier said: "Everyday like clockwork, twice a day at least, four hours at a time. Our everyday (routine) is we wake up, prep the food, cook it and deliver it.
"BPL's load shedding is actually in the morning and evening, so in the evening when we prep for the morning the power is usually off between 7pm to midnight and then in the morning it's off between 11am to 4pm."
He added: "We use a gas oven, but it has an electric pilot light, so it won't light without the electricity and also the fridge. We cleared out the fridge because we don't want to risk contamination so we pretty much need everything on 24/7. On average, we feed 200 persons a day."
Meanwhile a caregiver at Pat's Senior Citizens Home said the facility is experiencing problems because some of their residents are on oxygen tanks.
She said: "When the power goes out and residents are on oxygen tanks, we have to use the portable ones. We have to get the tanks which are very heavy, get them in the room and hurry up hook up the patient that is on oxygen right away.
"The power is usually off for four to five hours every other day. It's very hot. Our refrigerators, you know we have meat and things go badly once the fridge has gone off and then it damages the fridge when it goes off and on.
"We have a fridge that's damaged now. We also lost medication, insulin and certain medicines have to be refrigerated."
An employee from one charity that provides food to the needy, who preferred to be unnamed, said due to the constant load shedding the group has had to discard meat.
"Normally on Saturday we do preparations for Sunday and Saturday, sometimes we end up losing two and three bags of meat because it won't cool in the freezer because BPL goes off. "Sometimes Sunday mornings we would be here cooking in the dark," the employee said.
"Every day, our power goes off…the power went off early Saturday evening and it never came back on until after 5 o' clock Sunday morning and we were cooking during the outage. I try to keep tuna on hand in the event that we lose meat."
An employee of Mary Ingraham Care Centre, who gave her name as Ms Roberts, said BPL services have been "terrible."
Ms Roberts said: "Everyday our electricity is off, sometimes for three to four hours. One time it was off from early morning, 6am until late in the afternoon it was off. The seniors are hot and miserable over the heat.
"When the power goes off in the night, the emergency lights come on but they go off after a certain amount of time so the home would be in darkness until we get our search lights. The patients get miserable and complain about the heat."
BPL's load shedding issues were compounded with another incident yesterday that left customers in western New Providence without power.
In a press release, BPL confirmed its Gladstone Road Primary Substation was "out of service".
The press release read: "Bahamas Power and Light confirms that a company doing work along the New Providence Landfill came into contact with the Skyline 2 transmission line this afternoon around 1.45pm. As a result of that outside contact, BPL's Gladstone Road Primary Substation is out of service.
"That substation affects South Westridge, JFK, Gladstone Road, Fire Trail Road, Carmichael Road (from Flamingo Gardens to Coral Harbour East), Golden Isles Road and Cowpen Road, including all communities and side streets. A team is on the way to assess the line now so that we can restore service to customers affected. We will update as the work progresses."