BPL trucks en route to carry out repairs in the hurricane zone.
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
IT could cost Bahamas Power and Light at least $50m to repair the damage to its infrastructure caused by Hurricane Dorian, according to a well-placed source.
And even this figure could be on the low end of the spectrum, the source told this newspaper.
This comes as BPL sent an 11-man team to Abaco early today to begin the arduous process of fully restoring electricity on the island.
Notwithstanding the anticipated cost of repairs, the company yesterday sent trucks and additional material, which will be met with manpower today.
Earlier this week, BPL said housing options for workers on the island would be a challenge.
However, The Tribune was told this issue will be remedied through lodging in South Abaco. The south of the island fared better than central and northern portions.
In a statement yesterday afternoon, the utility provider said its team will begin planting poles by this afternoon. This team includes four former employees who recently also received voluntary separation packages.
"The team of 11 is led by Assistant Manager of Family Island Distribution Paul Tynes, a former overhead linesman with more than 25 years' experience in the business," the statement said.
"In addition to Tynes, the team includes four former employees who took the recent voluntary separation of employment package but who opted to come back and use their skills to aid in the recovery process. These are men with experience all over the Caribbean: they have worked in Dominica, St Kitts, Antigua, Bermuda and Jamaica, as well as all over the Bahamas and other places."
It continued: "Together with the four team members who stayed in Abaco to begin the reconstruction process following the devastating passage of Hurricane Dorian, plus the influx of workers expected from other Caribbean Community nations under the CARILEC banner, we expect the team to have the 53 poles erected in South Abaco within the next 14 days."
BPL sent prayers out to Abaconians and others who suffered loss as a result of Hurricane Dorian, adding they were committed to restoring power to the island as quickly, safely and sustainably as possible.
On Monday, BPL said its infrastructure on Abaco has been "obliterated", adding there were no standing electricity poles along the 16-mile stretch of road from Marsh Harbour to Treasure Cay.
Additionally, one of two power lines running from Wilson City to Marsh Harbour is a total loss, while the other will have to be rebuilt as a great portion of it was damaged.
Given the extent of the damage, the power provider said rebuilding the network in Abaco will require a massive level of effort. As a result, the company plans to utilise relationships with partners in CARICOM through the Caribbean Electric Utility Services Corporation (CARILEC).
BPL has also received offers of assistance from the United States and Canada.