EDITORIAL: Another summer of failure ahead for BPL?

WE’VE ASKED it before in this column – but what on Earth is going on at BPL?

Whether under its present incarnation as Bahamas Power & Light or back when it was BEC, the nation’s power generator has, it must be said, often fallen short.

That was supposed to be all over, however.

Remember in 2019 when then Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said that new engines at the Station A plant would fix “long-standing and vexing problems in New Providence”, while chairman Donovan Moxey said the new power plant was “a game changer for BPL” and “there will be an end to load shedding”.

Remember when the Deputy Prime Minister Desmond Bannister said in 2020 that there would be no load shedding and that the electricity provider could generate between 215 and 350 MW of power during the summer, more than the anticipated peak of 250 MW?

Remember in 2019 when we were told that there would be one last summer of torment and then BPL would have the power generation capacity it needed?

So what’s this in today’s Tribune?

A blackout-free summer cannot be guaranteed because BPL’s capacity to generate power is insufficient to meet summer demand, we are told.

Minister of Works Alfred Sears says that BPL’s generation capacity, of 241.1 MW, cannot cover the peak demand of 260 MW.

All that talk, and we’re back to not having enough generation capacity inside two years?

Something isn’t adding up right here.

Mr Sears suggests that rental arrangements with Aggreko and Sun Oil should give BPL enough capacity – even if one of its engines shuts down. But he says an outage-free summer cannot be guaranteed.

Worse, he says that BPL units have gone without maintenance in previous years, leading to doubts over the reliability of some of the generation units. There was a whole discussion, you may remember, over money to buy the new units meaning a shortfall in the maintenance budget.

But what does he say in the next breath? Maintenance is being pushed back again beyond the summer “to manage costs”.

When you delay and delay a project at home that needs maintenance, what is the usual outcome? It certainly doesn’t get better, that’s for sure. It often leads to a larger bill and a bigger repair job.

We had been led to believe that while BPL still had some issues, at least the generation side was sorted.

Sure, there were problems with the transmission network – the cables and wires that carry the power to our homes.

And sure, there was the ongoing debate over the Shell deal, and the uncertainty over efforts to refinance the company after a rate reduction bond offering was delayed and delayed and delayed.

But we were supposed to have at least the power generation side done.

Yet here we are, having suffered that summer of torment with perpetual load shedding because the solution was coming.

Now just two years later, was that even a solution at all? Or is this an excuse to hand out another contract?

So stock up on candles and battery lamps, because the summer’s coming and BPL might not be fit for purpose. Again.

How are we ever going to present ourselves to the world as a place to invest, a place to bring jobs to, a place that can stand with modern cities elsewhere, when we can’t even keep the lights on?

How are we supposed to believe that successive governments believe in the people when they leave Bahamians, old and young, sweltering in the heat, in the dark?

It’s not good enough.


AlternateView 1 year, 11 months ago

My thoughts exactly! Something fishy is going on here...sounds like an excuse to hand out more of the peoples money to Focol and the rest. All this short term fraud will cost us ALL in the end as no International (or local) company in their right mind will ever want to invest in the Bahamas. Too damn corrupt!!!


LastManStanding 1 year, 11 months ago

The real question is why does anyone expect any better?


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