By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
CONSUMERS should prepare for a “tough summer”, according to Bahamas Electrical Workers Union president Kyle Wilson, telling The Tribune yesterday “we are already having issues” in the first weeks of the hottest months of the year.
In an interview yesterday, Mr Wilson said the challenges are tied up in legacy issues compounded by old equipment.
He said the issues have also become evident as the economy has fully reopened and the demand is greater when compared with recent years when the country was on lockdown and there was some surplus power available.
Given the present situation, Mr Wilson said he has temporarily “somewhat laid down his sword” as it relates to union issues to work along with BPL to get Bahamians through this period.
“Right now it’s summer time,” Mr Wilson said. “I don’t think it’s time to disenfranchise the people with any differences between the union and management.
“We want to work hand-in-hand to see a reliable energy supply brought to the Bahamian people, to be honest with you and so, temporarily, I have somewhat laid down my sword to work along with the company to ensure the Bahamian people get through a tough summer period.
“This is a tough period. We are already experiencing outages. We are already having issues and we haven’t even really gotten started yet.
“Right now I am trying to relax the issues a bit. The more serious issues I try to table, but I am trying to work hard just to make sure the Bahamian people have reliable power this summer.”
Asked what is challenging BPL’s generation and distribution, Mr Wilson said: “Like I said it’s a legacy issue. This ain’t brand new. This is not FNM or PLP. It’s the same leaders. Administrations like to take credit for what the workers do but when it fails they don’t want to take credit and say that’s my policy.
“That’s an issue that I have because the workers are out there working hard, pushing.
“See, you could come up with any policy you want, make the most elaborate policy, but it’s the workers who have to go out there and execute those policies.”
He said weather factors and the full reopening of the country have created implications for a reliable service.
“Right now it’s been a very tumultuous rainy season as of late, coupled with the hot breeze and so all of these have challenges and so when you have rainy days you have problems with the underground cables and when you have hot days it causes tension and resistance in the power lines causing transformers to have to work harder, causing a lot of pressure on the transmission and distribution system.
“With the return of the opening of the country there is more traffic on the road. Persons are hitting poles, poles down, there are a lot of issues and bear in mind now under the former administration we were on lockdowns and restrictions for a year-plus.
“So, the big hotels they weren’t needing as much energy as they would normally need and so we probably had a surplus of energy and so generation would have not been an issue, but with the country reopened all these big hotels and major projects going on it’s demanding more energy supply and so it’s been a lot of load and strain on what we have.”
Mr Wilson noted that despite having back up generation the antiquated T&D system was a set back.
“We are trying to meet the demands but still the transmission and distribution system is a little antiquated and needs to be upgraded,” he said.
“Here it is, we have 2002 engines, but we still have the same transmission and distribution system from like the 70s and 80s and so that means, in my opinion, a lot of focus needs to be placed on the transmission distribution system and we have to also look towards alternative forms.
“The solar focus doesn’t require as much moving parts and then we have the hydrogen and so we have to start moving into new directions.”