By LYNAIRE MUNNINGS
ELEUTHERA residents are dissatisfied about the inability of Bahamas Power and Light to provide uninterrupted service on the island.
Yesterday, The Tribune spoke to two business owners on the island to understand how the issue has been affecting their establishments.
Thomas Sands, chief executive officer of The Market Supermarket in Rock Sound, Eleuthera said the power outages are “daily and frequently”.
Despite the establishment having a generator, Mr Sands said the power outages are still an inconvenience for the business.
“It’s (generator) manual so someone has to come and turn it on,” he said. “If it happens in the middle of the night someone has to come and turn it on, and because it’s been such an extended period of time you must turn it on. You have sensitive equipment, so it doesn’t help to be turned on and off all the time.”
Another business owner, Rosemary Thompson of both Rosey’s Creations and Publication and Thompson’s Seaside Villas in Palmetto Point, Eleuthera said she is dissatisfied with the lack of communication from BPL and said supply has been a “problem”.
She said: “It’s understandable that there will be times you have power cuts, but this seems to be a regular occurrence because these last couple of weeks it’s been a problem. It would be better manageable if we were informed of the times they are going off, but I have not seen anything to say we are doing load shedding and this is the times it will be off or on.”
Ms Thompson said the frequent power outages is an “issue”, therefore she is urging BPL to communicate with consumers the time period and reasoning for the power lost.
Facebook users also expressed their frustration on this matter.
One Facebook user said: “They send out planned times and power goes off an hour before the time listed. The point of a schedule should be so ppl (people) can at least be prepared and get stuff done.”
“It’s a national disgrace, get rid of BPL this is crazy and the summer is extremely hot. People have to suffer for this incompetent service,” said another Facebook user.
Yesterday, Clay Sweeting, Member of Parliament for Central and South Eleuthera, said via his Facebook page that he is closely monitoring the matter in hopes of providing a resolution.
“The Island of Eleuthera has experienced much discomfort over the past few months as it relates to intermittent power outages and in the past few days the outages have been extensive and unbearable,” he said on social media. “I have received many calls from concerned residents, the business community and second homes owners who are severely impacted by these unplanned outages.”
Mr Sweeting assured residents of Eleuthera that he has spoken with the island manager of Bahamas Power and Light and brought it to the attention of Works and Utilities Minister Alfred Sears.
“I assure the residents of Eleuthera, that I have spoken personally with the island manager of BPL, Mr Dean and has brought this to the attention of the Minister responsible for BPL, Hon Alfred Sears. Teams have been dispatched to address the concerns and every effort is being made to remediate the issues.”
According to BPL there are three power stations which it operates in Eleuthera- the Harbour Island Station, which services most of Harbour Island and the Hatchet Bay and Rock Sound stations, which are tied together, feeding the entire mainland.
The Harbour Island Site presently has 5megawatts of rental generation installed. Hatchet Bay has 15.28mw of generation installed, while Rock Sound has 5mw of generation installed.
In a statement released yesterday, BPL said load shedding on the island is a result of the failure of two units.
The interruption at Hatchet Bay was due to the failure of a unit in Hatchet Bay, however, they are awaiting the arrival of parts for the unit by the end of the week.
“The current shortfall of generation began with the failure of a unit in Hatchet Bay. Despite this unit being out of service, the spare capacity in the network allowed us to continue operating without any customers being impacted,” the statement said.
“BPL awaits the arrival of the parts for the Hatchet Bay unit by the end of the week. Upon receipt of these parts, repair time is estimated to be completed within 24 hours.”
The loss of generation last week Wednesday was due to mechanical failure at the Rock Sound station and one of the rental units in Harbour Island was taken out for service but unable to be restored, BPL also said.
“On Wednesday July 27, one of the rental units in Harbour Island was taken out of service by the rental contractor for routine service work. When those works were completed, the unit could not be returned to service.
“On the same day, a unit at the Rock Sound station also experienced a mechanical failure. As a result of the loss of these additional two units, the Eleuthera Operation team began load shedding on Wednesday, July 27.”
Sunday July 31, 2022 a second unit at Rock Sound was offline due to mechanical issues.
“On Sunday, July 31, a second unit at Rock Sound was forced offline due to mechanical issues. The Eleuthera team responded immediately to address the concern. This further reduced available capacity and resulted in a lengthy outage affecting South Eleuthera. Repairs to the unit were completed by 11.50pm on Sunday night and the area was restored,” the power provider said.