0

BPL: Load demands are unprecedented

Struggles arrive early as ‘several units being serviced’ before summer

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Chief Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

THOUSANDS of homes in New Providence were left in the dark for hours over the weekend as Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) struggled with “unprecedented” demand at this time of year.

Preparing for hot months is an annual challenge for BPL, which must service its equipment and acquire enough rental units to meet the demand.

However, Arnette Ingraham, a senior manager at BPL, said the country saw load demands over the weekend that don’t usually occur until July to September, straining BPL’s resources.

“Presently, we have several units out for maintenance to ensure we are ready for summer,” she said. “Our units undergo maintenance every year on a rotation. This is their scheduled time to be out. This is an unusual event that was compounded by the sudden loss of one our largest available units and some minor challenges with rental generation that we are working to resolve by end of day (Monday).”

BPL first reported power outages in the eastern and southwest parts of New Providence on Friday after announcing that it lost power at two major substations.

The company said on Saturday that it was experiencing a generation shortfall because one of its primary service units was out of service.

The blackouts prompted numerous complaints from residents, with some reporting outages lasting up to three to four hours or more.

Ms Ingraham said whether load shedding persists depends on load demands.

“We do not have much redundancy at this time,” she said yesterday. “So if demand peaks and have unexpected generation losses, light load shedding cannot be ruled out but we will employ every measure to avoid it.”

Although summer starts on June 20, the Bahamas Department of Meteorology issued a heat advisory until Wednesday. The department said the heat index was expected to be between 102F to 111F in many islands.

The soaring temperatures have prompted residents to turn on their air conditioning units earlier and for longer than they typically do at this time of year.

Last month, Energy Minister Jobeth Coleby-Davis told reporters that BPL was hoping to boost BPL’s generation capacity by June to meet summer demands.

BPL reiterated the minister’s comments yesterday, saying it anticipates an additional 300MW of generation by June.

“With load demands exceeding projections by 20MW, there remains a shortfall resulting in load shedding during peak hours in New Providence,” the company said in a statement yesterday.

“BPL is presently working with its rental generation partners to return at least 10MW of power to the grid within the next 24 hours, and another 10MW should be available by the end of (this) week (May 25, 2024).

“Additionally, BPL is working to return three units that are offline due to scheduled maintenance by the end of the month. These units will add 59 MW to the current capacity.”

“The company maintains that load shedding remains a possibility if unforeseen incidents impact available capacity at its plants and if temperatures continue to hover over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, increasing demand. Nonetheless, BPL assures its customers that it uses all available resources to limit supply interruptions.

“BPL’s Battery Energy Storage System helps to reduce the generation shortfall, and BPL continues to use the Generation Assistance Plan (GAP) where large commercial customers self-generate to allow BPL to redistribute power.”

The weekend outages come as the Davis administration works to reform the power company.

Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis has said that BPL could be divided into three separate entities, though details on the plan to separate BPL’s generation, transmission and distribution elements have remained unclear.

Comments

ThisIsOurs 1 month ago

"unprecedented"

The Port is now open and that development opposite the PMs office is now open. So this may have less to do with "unprecedented" demand and more to do with lack of planning

K4C 1 month ago

Gee and to THINK Davis wants Bahamians to buy EV's

Dawes 1 month ago

Why don't they just admit that their plans are basically a cross your fingers and hope. There has been no maintenance, no planning for what is to come, no nothing. This has been done by successive boards and Governments . just a bunch of highly paid people doing nothing and then claiming its not their fault. As always they are useless.

Sickened 1 month ago

I wonder who their rental generation partners are? These seem to be different than the hotels that can generate their own power, because I've never heard of the hotels providing power to the grid - they just remove demand from the grid.

lobsta 1 month ago

Doesn't help when you fire the guys maintaining the generators. Apparently, BPL staff knows better than the people who have been building and maintaining these machines for almost a century. Go figure!

alfalfa 1 month ago

Same old story. Always excuses, plans, and never solutions. Other than to increase fuel surcharge and blame everything⁶ on the other party. Fnm, Plp, no difference. We have had power cuts since the 70s with many businesses pulling out of the Country in the early eighties, because of lack of consistent supply, expense of power, and equipment damage. It is 2024 and not one kw of solar, hydro, or alternate sustainable energy source is being produce for the grid by BPL in New Providence.. 6 years ago Leslie Miller projected that you all a@@ ga sweat. Mine still sweating potcake.

sheeprunner12 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Imagine if Doc Minnis was PM.

This won't be headlines ......

Sickened 4 weeks, 1 day ago

If I were in charge, I would do maintenance during the winter months and not wait until mid-May (or as some may say... 2 weeks before the start of bloody hurricane season)!

ExposedU2C 4 weeks, 1 day ago

The scorching heat of the hottest and most humid summer months is almost here. And the very corrupt and incompetent Davis and his good friend the Snake knows that there is no better time to pull the power plug on the Bahamian people in order to get them to accept whatever crooked deals with heavily padded contracts they have planned to suck every possible dollar they can out of our pockets through sky high electricity bills like we have never experienced before.

This is not going to end well for stumpy Davis and his cohorts in crime, including their foreign partners waiting in the winds to feast on us as a result of the new electricity and LNG legislation passed by the PLP government to capitalise on the PLP created fiasco and chaos at BPL.

Sign in to comment