Coronavirus: BPL ready for increased load as self-isolation measures begin

Coronavirus: BPL ready for increased load as self-isolation measures begin
Clifton Pier Power Station A power plant

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) Chairman Dr Donovan Moxey said the power provider is more than prepared to handle increased demand on the grid as health officials urge the public to implement self-containment measures to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19)

Health officials confirmed the country’s first case, a 61-year-old Bahamian woman, on Sunday.

BPL is expected to release a statement on its preparedness plans sometime today.

When contacted, Moxey said: “We’re prepared for it.”

He was asked if BPL had the generation capacity to meet the increased demand in the event hundreds of people began staying home from work and/or school.

Moxey continued: “…In our peak summer time, we’re about 100 megawatts below what our peak summer time peaks are.

“So, we are fine with being able to accommodate the initial demands.

“We’re fine with that because as you can see now, more folks working from home means more business are now consuming less electricity, so the net effect is not going to be that great.”

Notwithstanding the adequate generation, the chairman encouraged businesses and homeowners to be mindful of energy consumption.

“We always want people to be prudent about how they use electricity across the board,” said Moxey when asked whether energy conservation measures were advisable.

“That’s everybody.”

Last Friday, thousands of consumers in New Providence were left powerless for over an hour after two Wartsilla engines tripped offline — one at the Clifton Pier Power Station A and another at the Blue Hill Power Station.

The power company said the tripped engines resulted in a number of outages throughout New Providence, ranging from Westridge and Sandyport to East Street, Blue Hill Road and Robinson Road.

Last year, residents across the island endured months of prolonged outages due to load shedding exercise — the result of a general shortfall on New Providence.

BPL has since installed seven new Wartsila engines at its Clifton Pier Power Station A power plant, and added an engine to its Blue Hills Power Station.

Ahead of the confirmed case of COVID-19, Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employer’s Confederation Chief Executive encouraged businesses to look at how their employees can “work from home or remotely”, noting that these measures could help to reduce the potential spread of the virus.