BPL: Load shedding expected to continue until week of May 20th

BPL says it has insufficient generation to meet the demand on its system

NASSAU, BAHAMAS  –  As persistent power outages continue to plague many areas in the capital, Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) on Wednesday confirmed that it has been conducting load shedding in the capital since May 10th.

The company noted, however, that BPL expects to return an engine to service beginning the week of Monday, May 20, which will significantly bolster its generation capacity and stability.

In a statement released yesterday, BPL outlined that the load shedding that occurred last week is due to the reality that BPL has, at present, insufficient generation available to meet the demand on the system.

“Demand has begun to increase toward the summer peak as is customary at this time of year. We acknowledge the inconvenience and frustration this causes and assure all that we are committed to improving our ability to prevent load shedding, and ensuring better customer service when we are forced to employ that tool,” BPL said.

The explained that two of its larger generating assets at the Clifton Pier Power Station were rendered inoperable last year, thus reducing its available generation capacity.

BPL said added to this, routine scheduled maintenance was required on additional generators in advance of the summer peak.

“The last of these works remains in progress and is expected to be concluded by the end of the month,” BPL said.

Additionally, the power provider said unplanned and unexpected challenges developed over the past week at both the Clifton and Blue Hills Power Stations, affecting energy supply.

BPL said these issues resulted in the present generation shortfall necessitating load shedding and regretfully impacting its customers.

BPL said every effort is being made to conclude the routine maintenance and necessary repairs, and to supplement generation with additional units to bring an end to the load shedding in the short term.

According to BPL, the first of the impacted generating units is expected to be returned to service during the week commencing May 20.

BPL said the return of this unit will go a long way toward improving the present situation  but, unfortunately, the generation shortfall is expected to persist until this occurs.

“As previously indicated, the ongoing routine maintenance activities will be concluded in June, further boosting the available generation capacity,” BPL said, adding that it has also sourced 25 megawatts (MW) of additional rental generation for its Blue Hills Power Station.

These units, BPL said, are currently being installed and will begin to come online at the end of the month.

Lastly, BPL said it has engaged additional technical services to first expedite the diagnosis and repair of the remaining generators and then to provide additional operational and maintenance assistance to supplement its teams.

“This assistance is already on the ground and has begun the necessary assessments,” BPL said.

“BPL regrets the present situation and again wishes to express that we are working to resolve the issues.

“We are also seeking to minimize the disruption to our customers by scheduling any needed load shedding appropriately.

“We will be providing information on the scheduling shortly.”

Meanwhile, seven new multi-fuel engines for Bahamas Power and Light (BPL), arrived at the Arawak Cay Port from Finland last week.

The new engines are expected to remove dependence on rental generators and place BPL on a path to energy security.

The new engines have the capability of burning heavy fuel oil, light fuel oil and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). The latter will become available in The Bahamas when Shell completes its power plant in The Bahamas, slated for 2020 or early 2021, according to BPL’s Public Relations Director, Quincy Parker.