NASSAU, BAHAMAS – As load shedding persists on New Providence, much to the frustration of residents who have been challenged by prolonged outages since last Wednesday, Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) officials said yesterday that 10 megawatts of additional rental generation has been installed.BPL Chairman Donovan Moxey said this week that the power provider will rent an additional 25 megawatts of power from Aggreko.
He said load shedding would likely continue until those assets were fully installed.
It remains to be seen when the remaining 15 megawatts of power will be added to the grid or how the additional 10 megawatts of power recently installed will impact load shedding exercises.
With challenges meeting increasing demand, BPL began load shedding last Wednesday.
There were prolonged outages over the weekend with some customers reporting numerous interruptions lasting as long as four hours.
BPL said the load shedding exercise was exacerbated after two of its generators failed.
Amid outcries from the public for a load shedding schedule, BPL has posted a series of notices on its Facebook page since Monday concerning areas impacted.
However, dozens customers questioned the purpose of advising residents, who were experiencing outages, that power was off in their areas, and pleaded with the power provider to give advance notice, as well as estimates on the timeframe of the outages.
BPL has refused to issue a load shedding schedule, noting it posed a safety and security risk within affected areas.
Addressing the claim, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said Monday that there is a risk of increased crime during blackouts, but authorities reroute resources to impacted areas when those incidents occur.
Julie Farquharson, a New Providence resident, said, “I don’t need to be told my power is off. Why you post the obvious?”
Christie Sweeting, 25, a resident of eastern New Providence made a similar point.
She added that she was more concerned about when power would be restored to the impacted areas.
“We are very aware that we are off,” she said.
“We don’t want to know who is off. We want to know when we are coming back on and when this nightmare is going [to] end. [It’s been] over a week of this foolishness.
Professional Instructor for The Bahamas MLS Heather Joy Albury accused BPL of holding its customers hostage.
“I’m confused. So, first promises of no load shedding; then [we’re] forced to live for two hours without power in sweltering heat; and now, we’re suffering in the dark and heat for three-plus hours, [with] no prior notice or scheduling,” she said.
“You are holding us hostage.
“That is unfair and cruel.”
According to Shay Russel, an executive chef, outages were persisting well beyond two hours.
She also said it was pointless for BPL to announce areas offline after they were impacted.
“You need to get it together,” she said.
“And if you can’t, it’s honestly as simple as posting a schedule for all areas.
“You randomly posting that a place is offline is completely pointless.
“You’re literally only asking for angry, pissed off comments.”
When Moxey addressed the media this week, the chairman said BPL was working to improve its communication with the public, adding that thw power provider intends to use social media platforms such as community WhatsApp groups to disseminate information on load shedding exercises.
At around 6:30 p.m. yesterday, BPL advised that areas, including Earnest Street, Mackey Street, East Bay Shopping Center, Church of God, Wulff Road, Bernard Road, Village Road, Williams Lane, Soldier Road and Cable Bahamas were all offline.
In a second update a short while later, BPL said “control reports Cable Bahamas is online and Firetrail Road is now offline”.