By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
MORE than a year after Hurricane Dorian hit, Bahamas Power and Light has restored electricity connections to over 4,000 residential customers in Abaco.
The figure was revealed by BPL chairman Dr Donovan Moxey earlier this week as he touted the utility provider’s progress to restore power to the island following the powerful Category Five storm’s widespread devastation.
“When you look at Abaco, we’ve done a heck of a lot of work on Abaco in the last year in bringing that island back,” he told reporters. “Abaco, for us, when you look at the number of customers, Abaco I believe represents the second largest number of customers in our portfolio of BPL.
“And so now that we’re starting to bring Abaco back, we have to reconnect those services in Abaco. That means we have to have a full team. What we did as BPL, I think back in September is we sent a letter to all of those remaining employees who were in Nassau that was supposed to go to Abaco that ‘listen, we want you to start making preparations over the next two months to be able go back to Abaco because as we’re starting to bring services on, we need a full team complement in Abaco.’”
However, in recent weeks there have been some concerns raised by BPL workers, who worked in Abaco prior to Dorian, such as limited housing options.
The chairman sought to address those concerns, saying the company is doing all it can to assist employees where needed.
He said: “We do know that there may be some challenges with folks finding housing but we do know that housing is there and so we’re doing what we can to help our employees identify those particular opportunities for them to find housing but at the end of the day, you have customers in Abaco to the tune of we’ve connected over 4,000.
“We have over 4,000 customers and we’re moving those customers slowly back on the grid and so what we want to be able to do is now… is provide the level of service that our customers expect.”
In October, BPL officials revealed that the utility company was receiving 75 reconnection applications per week from residents and businesses seeking to rejoin an Abaco customer base that is just 50 percent of its pre-Dorian size.
While addressing the Abaco Business Outlook conference, BPL’s chief operating officer, Ian Pratt said despite the devastation inflicted by Dorian and the regular power outages that Abaco residents are still enduring, the state-owned utility monopoly has “sufficient generation capacity and redundancy” on the island.
Earlier this week, Water and Sewerage Corporation Executive Chairman Adrian Gibson said in a post on Facebook that the water provider was making “notable progress” in Treasure Cay, Abaco in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.
The post was accompanied by various photos showing groundwork being carried out.