NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Public Works Minister Desmond Bannister yesterday attributed Bahamas Power and Light’s (BPL) “growing pains” to the recent power outages in New Providence.
His comments came amid frustration among some consumers over the interruptions to power supply over the past few weeks.
On Monday, residents in numerous communities of New Providence were left powerless for hours as “inclement weather” affected BPL’s grid.
The power company has reported a series of sporadic outages in recent weeks, including an island-wide outage on September 11.
“BPL is going through growing pains,” Bannister said outside the Churchill Building.
“They have reliable generation.”
The minister, whose portfolio includes BPL, said while the power company was impacted by a lightning strike yesterday and an issue with one its fuel tanks last week, “these are challenges that you can’t plan against, but they are challenges that we have to work to assure that we minimize.”
“In this season, at this time of year, we can’t do anything about lightning,” Bannister said.
“But what we can do is ensure that first the public is informed quickly, and secondly that we respond on an urgent basis.”
Several businesses and government institutions were impacted by the most recent outage.
Numerous residents took to social media to voice their concern over the frequent outages, despite the purchase of new generators.
In March 2019, BPL signed a $95 million contract with Finnish technology group Wärtsilä to install a new 132-megawatt power plant at Clifton Pier.
Additionally, that project was expected to receive $70 million of the proceeds from the rate reduction bond to fund its expansion.
The second phase of the plant, which will bring an additional 90 megawatts of capacity online for a total of 222 megawatts, was expected to be on stream by 2021.
Additionally, some $27 million of additional non-hurricane related spending was used for the acquisition of a turbine generation plant for the Blue Hills power plant.
During the first wave of COVID-19 cases, which spanned from mid-March to the end of June, the power company suspended the disconnection of services for more than three months.
Yesterday, Bannister said BPL’s Board was very concerned about people who are able to pay, but do not.
“If you are able to pay, I would urge you it is in your best interest to pay,” he said.
“If you are not able to pay, I would urge you that it is in your best interest to make an arrangement with BPL.”