BPL's Abaco customer base just 50% of pre-Dorian size


Tribune Business Reporter


Bahamas Power & Light (BPL) is 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.

Ian Pratt, BPL's chief operating officer, told the Abaco Business Outlook conference: “Abaco represents our second largest service territory. We had 9,165 customers before Dorian in July 2019. Present recorded customers is now 4,625 as of September 2020."

He added that, 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.

"The island's peak demand was 26 Mega Watts (MW), and we installed generation in Abaco of 56 MW," Mr Pratt said. "There is a 48 MW station in Wilson City power plant.

"We are now faced with the need to rehabilitate both the Marsh Harbour and Wilson City power stations, and the damage to Marsh Harbour is going to take some significant funding to rebuild. We are well under way in the redevelopment of the Wilson City plant, and that plant is well on the way to delivering steady power.

“We are adding in substations we can monitor from Wilson City to help monitor power supply to the surrounding towns in Abaco. We are adding some redundancy in the Cays loop, and we are going to strengthen that loop in this redevelopment of the power grid in Abaco.”

Mr Pratt said BPL is adding two new power lines north from Marsh Harbour that will be built on ductile iron poles, in a bid to ensure they can withstand future Category five storms.

He added that the transmission lines have been built on stronger poles, while underground cables will be used to connect the island's hospital to the grid. Solar micro grids will be used for other key infrastructure such as the Sandypoint clinic; government offices; the airport; and main water and sewerage plants, as well as government clinics.

“The advanced metering infrastructure development will allow us to monitor from the main station our customers, as well as pre-paid metering and allow for remote reconnect and disconnections,” said Mr Pratt.

"We want to make sure what we do is fit for the purpose. We want capacity, reliability and reinforcement in anticipation of growth. We want to make sure we stay ahead of growth in our target areas.”

John Conway, Water Mission Disaster's response manager, said: We have spent $4m in response relief for water restoration in Abaco. Our long-term response is the Abaco Sunny Waters project, in partnership with UNICEF (the United Nations Children's Fund) and Water and Sewerage Corporation.

"This is a $2.2m project. More than 1,000 solar panels will be used for this project, which is being built primarily by Bahamian companies. Water Mission is also working with local medical facilities to provide water solutions. We are using a combination of rain water collection, treatment systems and reverse osmosis to supply the locations with reliable water options.

“Looking forward, we want to marry the Abaco Sunny Waters project in North Abaco. This would provide more resilient water solutions for areas such as Treasure Cay, Green Turtle Cay, Blackwood, Cooper’s Town and Fire Road," Mr Conway added.

"We currently have donations in the amount of $900,000 towards this project, which will allow us to do Phase one, which is the 12 wells that are the North Abaco water station near to the airport. Our organisation is looking to find an additional $1.8m to complete all the phases of this project.”


benniesun 3 years, 9 months ago

What Mr. Pratt fails to mention is that the peak of 26MW occurred when Abaco was booming and full of vacationing visitors and second home owners. With nothing but global lockdowns and global unrest projected for the next year that peak will not reoccur for some time in the future - if ever again. The financial conditions under which Mr. Pratt's plans were initiated no longer exist, but BPL continues as if the Bahamas is not fubar-ed. The government will have to borrow another possibly $1.5 billion next year out of which BPL will get financial assistance. We, the unrepresented peons, will have to pay for the unwise decisions of Mr. Pratt and the government.

DWW 3 years, 9 months ago

so your saying that abaco is full of naughty children who do not deserve to get the electricity service provided to every other person in the country (outside of FPO)? what kind of sick person are you?

TalRussell 3 years, 9 months ago

I surprised see BPL is still in operation considering the unpaid accounts are but peanuts compared to lost revenue just from the continued closure of its most dependable be paying on-time cash cow, sometimes known even pay light bills months in advance when often was requested by BPL, the Atlantis properties.

DWW 3 years, 9 months ago

$75,000 per well? that seems like a crazy number but what do it know

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