BPL: 63% of Abaco customers connected


Tribune Business



Bahamas Power & Light’s (BPL) chief operating officer says just 63 percent of the company’s Abaco customers have “returned to base” after Hurricane Dorian devastated the island in 2019.

Ian Pratt, speaking at the Abaco Business Outlook conference, said Abaco was BPL’s second-largest island by customer count pre-Dorian but is now lagging behind Eleuthera.

“At present, they are behind Eleuthera, making Abaco the third largest territory with a present customer returning to base of 5,808 consumers. There were 9,100 prior to Hurricane Dorian,” said Mr Pratt.

“Before Dorian there was a peak load of about 27 Mega Watts (MW) on the island. We had a peak this summer of about 14-and-a-half. The monthly consumption on Abaco was about 12m units and they are back to 7.3m thus far.

“We are reconnecting about 152 customers on average a month and that’s over the last six months.” If the current pace continues, BPL will need 20 more months to get the island back to pre-Dorian levels.

Cyprian Gibson, the Water and Sewerage Corporation’s assistant general manager for Family Island operations, said: “We have awarded and completed some $16m in contracts. We have some short-term projects to award some $3.8m for a total of $19m in works that are pending, and then for the final phases in building back stronger we have proposed $7.5m in works.

“The challenge is that persons are getting service but, to continuously improve on service in the long run, because we have changed parts of the system we want to ensure that we are thorough to ensure that all of the service laterals to all of the homes are repaired.”

Mr Gibson added: “We’re very proud of our 216 kilowatt solar system that we’re about to commission in a matter of weeks, and that has been a regional project in conjunction with Water Mission and UNICEF.

“Once we commission that system we have the capacity to use solar, diesel, or use the grid - either combination thereof - for sustainability. Power has been a challenge and we understand these major facilities, given the level of devastation, are not something that you can build overnight.

“You can do your patchwork, you can do your restorative efforts, but major quality infrastructure requires time, especially when you’ve been affected by COVID-19 restrictions. We’ve also added a new sustainable groundwater management plan, working in conjunction with Israel aid.”


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