BPL: Boat propeller cut Harbour Island undersea power cables

BPL: Boat propeller cut Harbour Island undersea power cables
Bahamas Power and Light's headquarters.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) yesterday confirmed residents in Harbour Island were left in darkness on Christmas Day and Boxing Day due to the propellers of a boat damaging undersea cables connecting the island to its power source on the mainland.

The outage lasted for four days.

In a statement, the power provider said the two circuits connecting Harbour Island to mainland Eleuthera — both of which can maintain the supply to the small island — were knocked out as a result of the incident and four cables were damaged.

BPL repaired three of the cables, which allowed one of the circuits to resume service, while the fourth cable was damaged in multiple locations, requiring ongoing repairs.

According to the company, electricity supply was restored to all residents by Thursday at 5 p.m.

“Both the cable and on-island generation are used to supply Harbour Island,” the company said.

“However, because the generators (rentals) had tripped offline due to mechanical defects — as we have reported — when the cables were damaged it created an unavoidable outage.

“Additionally, because the incident was not immediately reported to BPL, it took some time for teams to locate the damage to the undersea cables and execute the repairs.

“The damage to the cables, and the fact that the rental generators had failed due to mechanical defects, caused serious power supply issues on the island for a period of over 48-hours.

“However, as reported, a new cable installed at the Whale Point/South Barr crossing as part of our planned reinforcement works for Harbour Island was used to restore power to portions of the island.

“Using this cable, we were able to restore power to portions of the island.”

In an earlier statement, BPL said mechanical defects knocked the on-island rental generation offline.

In response to the incident, Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister blamed BPL’s former management and pointed to “terrible investments” in generators, which failed ahead of the holiday.

Residents and commercial consumers lamented the outage, and what many claimed was a lack of communication from the power company.