Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister.
Tribune Staff Reporter
WORKS Minister Desmond Bannister yesterday expressed confidence that there will be no load shedding across New Providence this summer.
He said “we have more generation than we need” to put an end to the country’s longstanding electricity woes.
Speaking ahead of a Cabinet meeting, the minister commended Bahamas Power and Light for the progress it has made in resolving legacy generation issues.
He said: “This time last year, everybody was on me about load shedding and we’ve had no load shedding. So, let’s look at the successes that BPL has had. These are hard earned successes.
“It’s been 20 years since we’ve had a summer where we can say we have had no load shedding and we’ve had none so far this summer and I want us to look at the progress that’s been made and let’s celebrate those progresses also.”
He continued: “They’ve been hard ones. They’ve been huge challenges and the country is moving forward now in a sector where energy has begun to become reliable for the first time since some of you have known yourselves.”
“Some of y’all are very young and every summer, y’all have been accustomed to this. This is a huge change, and this is the kind of thing that we have to celebrate also.”
Last summer, residents in New Providence suffered almost daily load shedding since June 19. In an effort to end load shedding in the capital, the power provider added a new engine to its Blue Hills Power Station in March in a move officials said would help improve the country’s energy production.
At the time, BPL chairman Donovan Moxey called the new GE TM2500 engine a “game changer” for BPL and the Bahamian people, adding it will aid in fixing long-standing problems experienced by BPL consumers.
However, in recent months, there have been several power outages across New Providence.
In April, for example, lightning strikes on the company’s overhead system caused outages in areas including Nassau East, Star Estates, McKinney Drive and Carmichael Road.
A month later, the capital experienced an island-wide blackout and the fault was traced to a substation on Skyline Drive. The Tribune understands it was caused by an operator switching error.
Blaming recent outages on either bad weather, transmission issues or human error, Mr Bannister noted that such power failures were not uncommon in more advanced countries around the world.
He made the comment when asked how confident he is there will be no load shedding this year given the fact that summer had just started and there were already several outages so far for the year.
To this, the Carmichael MP replied: “You’ve had outages related to the weather, you’ve had outages related to transmission and distribution. You’ve had outages related to human strikes and you’ve have outages regrettably related to human error.
“There have been several in the east and there have been three or four in the west. Even the great cities in the world have those kinds of outages and we have to improve transmission and distribution at BPL and that’s a next target, but we can’t fix them all at one time. We targeted generation this last year.”
He continued: “Now we have more generation than we need this summer and I want you to ask me that same question at the end of the summer and at the end of the hurricane season. You’re going to come and say ‘Mr Bannister, we had no load shedding. What happened?’”