NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) yesterday assured consumers that it is working ‘assiduously’ to ensure it is ready to meet peak summer demand and avoid a repeat of last summer’s power woes.
On Tuesday, the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) urged the power company to remediate the challenges it is experiencing with the cooling of the new engines at Clifton Pier “as a matter of urgency”.
BPL director of Public relations Quincy Parker said: “BPL is pleased to be a member of the Chamber and we take our responsibility to the Chamber and the wider business community very seriously.
“We are preparing and working to ensure we do not have a repeat of last year’s shortages.
“To that end, we have brought station A online and a 30-megawatt aero-derivative unit has been added to the grid at the blue hills power station. That new unit has already been tested on the grid and is expected to be permanently online in about a week.
He said: “We have embarked on our winter action plan which will see the company take some units down for overhauls and maintenance and we started with DA13 at Clifton Pier and that machine is due to be returned to the grid in the next two weeks.”
Parker said the company is working assiduously to meet peak summer demand.
“The plan is to ensure the units are ready and that we have what is considered standard in the utilities business – at least an N-2 redundancy,” he continued.
“This means we will have sufficient power generation that allows us to lose two assets from the grid, which we do not anticipate having to do and which we are working to ensure does not happen and still be able to meet the demand.
“We appreciate the concerns expressed by the Chamber and we are preparing and working assiduously to ensure we are ready for the high peak of the summer.”
Earlier this week, it was reported that BPL’s plans to cool the 132 mega watts of newly-installed generation capacity by digging four 800-foot deep wells at Clifton Pier was in danger of running aground.
The area’s rock structures have reportedly proven far more difficult to penetrate than first thought.
In a statement Wednesday, BPL said work on the Clifton Pier Power Station continues to proceed according to schedule, which includes the completion of the cooling wells.
The power company acknowledged, however that the wells had taken longer to complete than anticipated due “harder than expected” rock.
BPL Chairman Dr. Donovan Moxey said: “In no way did the issues dealing with the cooling wells affect our generation supply.
“The delays drilling the cooling wells are well within our anticipated timeframe, and we expect to have a full supply of water to run to the plant by the end of March, well ahead of our internal timeline.”
The BCCEC in a press statement on Tuesday expressed concerns about the challenges at Station A.a
“The stability and delivery of power generation are critical components to strengthening our economy,” read the statement.
“A reliable and long-term solution must to be found and shared with the wider community. We consistently refer to the impact our power challenges have on the private sector and investment environment.
“As a result, the private sector needs to be confident that BPL is committed to fulfilling their obligations regarding safe, consistent, reliable and cost-effective power supply.”
The statement continued: “The private sector has experienced the loss of productivity and profitability last year through the extensive power outages and load-shedding. Given the fact that this year both the private sector and residents are expected to pay more through the rate reduction bond, there is a justifiable expectation that power generation will be consistent.”
Works Minister Desmond Bannister, who has ministerial responsibility for BPL, expressed confidence that the cooling system will be in place by summer 2020.