BPL chairman: Replacing “end of life” components will take time

BPL chairman: Replacing “end of life” components will take time
Donovan Moxey, BPL Chairman

Moxey hopes nothing fails in the interim


NASSAU, BAHAMAS – With Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) under the spotlight following its latest outage, BPL Chairman Dr. Donovan Moxey said yesterday that the power provider has been busy upgrading its transmissions and distribution network, but it will take time to replace all of the aged components, some of which have long exceeded their life-cycle.

“A lot of the components that make up our transmissions and distribution network are very, very old; some of them are end-of-life, and so what happens is when you do that — and you know this; if you have old components or old parts on your car, they’re going to just breakdown because they can no longer work because they have taken up their useful life,” he told Eyewitness News Online.

“And so, what we’re doing now is we’re upgrading BPL’s transmissions and distribution network, but we’re not going to get to a lot of these end-of-life components all at once because there are long lead times and it takes time to get each of the components.

“Now, we are working to that and so, we hope that nothing fails, but this is what happens when you are trying to upgrade your network and you have a lot of old components on your network.”

Thousands of BPL customers were without power for hours last Thursday after electricity supply to nearly 50 percent of New Providence was interrupted due to a “catastrophic failure” of a circuit breaker.

As a result, BPL was forced to reroute power and isolate its Big Pond substation.

The interruption, which impacted central and western New Providence, occurred around 2:47 p.m.

According to BPL, supply was restored to approximately 20 per cent of customers within an hour on the incident.

It said power was fully restored by 11:21 p.m. — more than eight hours later.

The power outage also impacted communications at Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA), forcing the airport to prioritize landing airborne flights. There were significant flight delays.

Yesterday, Moxey said high winds last week also compounded the power issue.

“Some spot outages occurred due to the high winds,” he said.

“A lot of the high winds were having trees interfere with power distribution, so we’ve gone through and I believe we have resolved all of those issues as well.”

Asked whether customers could be impacted by the diversion of power, Moxey said supply should not be interrupted, but it’s not the ideal way to distribute electricity.

According to Moxey, BPL will advise the public early in the new year of its plans to improve the distribution and transmissions networks, as well as contingency plans relating to its generating capacity for summer 2019.

Last week, Bahamas Electrical Workers Union Paul Maynard said it would be a miracle if BPL gets through next summer.