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URCA ‘concerned’ BPL is struggling to be reliable

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune News Editor

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

THE Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) said recent power outages suggest the Bahamas Power & Light is struggling to provide “power of sufficient reliability and quality”.

URCA said it has been investigating the outages on various islands in recent months.

“As the regulator for the electricity sector, URCA is concerned about the adverse affects these power outages have on national economic development and residential and commercial consumers in particular,” URCA said in a statement yesterday.

“In the past two months alone, significant outages have occurred in Abaco, Acklins, North Andros, Cat Island, Exuma, Mayaguana, and New Providence.

 “The outages were a combination of generation and transmission failures, third-party damage, and weather. URCA has requested and received outage reports for all these instances. With the exception of North Andros, all supplies have been restored.

 “In the case of North Andros, there has been partial restoration; however, some load shedding continues. The matter is still under investigation; in the interim, BPL is in the process of shoring up supplies there. All things considered, URCA is satisfied with BPL’s short-term actions to address the outages.

 “However, the quantity and nature of the outages paint a picture of a struggling utility unable to provide power of sufficient reliability and quality. This has negative impacts on the economy of The Bahamas and quality of life of its residents. URCA is working with the relevant stakeholders with the aim of ensuring suitable plans of action are in place to provide a more durable solution to these issues.”

 Residents who hoped the era of load-shedding had ended were surprised when Works and Utilities Minister Alfred Sears said last month that load-shedding was possible this summer as BPL relies on its ageing equipment to provide power.

 Mr Sears’ comment drew condemnation from his predecessor, Desmond Bannister, who touted the Minnis administration’s investments in BPL.

 Mr Bannister said when BPL terminated the contract that allowed Wartsila to maintain the engines BPL acquired in 2019, it turned to less capable personnel.

 In response, BPL CEO Shevonn Cambridge said the same people who maintained the engines when Wartsila operated the plant were contracted to do so.

 URCA revealed in May that it would audit BPL and establish a performance baseline for the company through an independent evaluation. URCA said this would give it more effective oversight of BPL.

“This will include assessing BPL’s performance using financial, operational, and quality of service indicators and comparing BPL’s performance with similar utilities in the Caribbean and around the world,” URCA said. “Additionally, the consultancy is also required to conduct a two-day workshop for URCA staff on technical knowledge as it relates to the appropriate regulatory mandate based on the organisation’s maturity.”

 According to URCA’s website, responses to the Request for Proposal from companies to provide the consultancy service must be submitted by July 22.

Comments

ted4bz 11 months, 2 weeks ago

No, it's politics and it is deliberate.

benniesun 11 months, 2 weeks ago

BPL and URCA are playing Good Cop/Bad Cop with us. The heads of both entities have a long history together - going back to the old BEC Family Island Department. Ultimately, it's all about the gravy; so don't be fooled by complicated contrived distractions.

bahamianson 11 months, 2 weeks ago

All people at URCA should be fired. We could have told you the obvious . This was a problem before all of them were born and they have the notion to say such rubbish!

Porcupine 11 months, 2 weeks ago

I have complained to URCA about our horrible BTC service for well over a decade. Never heard a word back from them. Wasted tax money for The Bahamas

ExposedU2C 11 months, 2 weeks ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

SP 11 months, 1 week ago

URCA must be just reach on the boat aye?

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