Failing generators create hike in electricity bill

Failing generators create hike in electricity bill
Bahamas Power & Light (BPL) CEO, Whitney Heastie. (FILE PHOTO)

Downed power generators at Bahamas Power and Light’s (BPL) Clifton Pier plant are to blame for a recent hike in electricity bills, according to BPL’s CEO, Whitney Heastie.

Heastie confirmed to Eyewitness News on Friday that a recent string of fires at BPL’s Clifton and Blue Hill Road power plants have crippled a portion of the company’s power generation; and with two of its largest assets at the Clifton plant – the bigger of the two stations – now out of commission, it has automatically translated into added fuel charges on consumers’ power bills.

“Not only has the loss of station at Clifton saw the loss of our two largest assets but it also saw the loss of 25 per cent of the production that would have been on the cheaper fuel,” he explained.

“The assets at Clifton are certainly more efficient and the fuel that is burnt there has a higher value, in terms of you can get more power out of a barrel of fuel.”

At this point, electricity is being supplied mainly from a sub-station that utilizes diesel fuel, which is a little more expensive, according to Heastie.

“The diesel fuel doesn’t have the same heating value and so you don’t get as much power out of a barrel of diesel,” he said.

“You’ll also find that the engines at Blue Hill aren’t as efficient as the ones at Clifton, and so once again the reverse on those three components leads to a higher fuel charge that customers are having to pay.

“At the end of the day we realize that we have to meet the needs of the consumer and we try to have the most efficient assets to us available at all times, but when we don’t, we have to run with what we have in our fleet. As a result of that customers will see a higher charge on the fuel portion of their bill.

“The counteract to that is just to replace the less efficient assets with more efficient assets, the reverse to that is that customers will see a higher non-fuel charge on their bill so we have to try to balance the non-fuel portion versus the fuel portion of the bill to ensure that there is a nice mix that the customer gets the best result in the total cost of power.”

Heastie confirmed that investigations are still underway to determine the cause of the mysterious fires.

“We’re not able to determine what the root cause is or if the failure in the systems were what led to the fire, so we are still waiting for the reports to be finalized before we release that information,” he revealed.

BPL is insured with J.S. Johnson.

The agency is currently in the process of conducting their own investigations.

In the end, their findings will be coupled with those conducted by the power company to conclusively state what led to the devastating blazes.

Heastie confirmed that consumers can expect to see a slight decrease in their power bills by the end of October and more is expected to be saved once Clifton is back online in early 2019.