Late again

Late again
PLP Senator Fred Mitchell.

Opposition says Bahamians tired of excuses on power “crisis”

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Late again is how Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman Fred Mitchell described Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis’ announcement on Wednesday that a team from the United States had arrived in New Providence to assist Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) restore 20-megawatts of power to the grid.

Mitchell added thatthe public just wants the matter resolved and for the blame game to end.

“They’re sending people in from the outside to the rescue,” Mitchell pointed out.

“We just want the matter resolved for the Bahamian public because this is misery.

“But one cannot hide the fact that this is sheer incompetence, and they are trying to fix a story to deflect the population by attacking us personally.”

“It imperils the government itself because people are so fed up with the excuses.

“The press conference that BPL held recently just unveiled their sheer incompetence and their inability to provide answers. They were combative and defensive.

“This is an FNM problem. It’s clear from the [Bahamas] Chamber of Commerce’s release that it’s an FNM problem. If they acted with alacrity when they came into office instead of stopping, reviewing, and cancelling, then we wouldn’t be in the position that we are in.

“They even fired their own first board.”

In a statement Wednesday, Minnis said the government is “deeply unhappy” with the “unacceptable” power supply challenges gripping Bahamas Power and Light (BPL).

He advised that a six-man team of specialists from Pennsylvania-based Philadelphia Gear arrived in New Providence and has begun work to return an additional 20-megawatts of power to service at the Blue Hills Power Plant.

He said BPL will notify the public of progress on the assets.

“I am deeply unhappy that our families are suffering,” Minnis said.

“I fully understand that Bahamians and residents want clear and immediate action.

“I want to assure you that the government is committed to doing whatever is necessary to alleviate this problem, including further additional measures.

“The frustration and inconvenience experienced by Bahamians and residents — in homes and in businesses — throughout New Providence is simply unacceptable.

“We are doing all we can to fix this problem long-term, and to ensure that Bahamians and residents receive the consistent power supply that they deserve.”

Minnis also noted that Cabinet met with executives and board members of Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) on Tuesday to discuss the “unacceptable state of power generation on New Providence”.

The prime minister acknowledged that over the last several months, BPL has engaged in prolonged periods of load shedding, due to a decaying generation fleet that has challenged the power company’s ability to generate power in New Providence for decades.

The prime minister noted that work has already begun on a new 132-megawatt power plant at Clifton Pier as a part of that long-term solution to reliable energy.

He said in the short-term, BPL is executing a plan to mitigate its shortfall in generation that is expected to provide some relief to residents as soon as possible.

BPL’s demand in New Providence has peaked at 250-megawatts.

Due to failed generators, BPL has been producing 210-megwatts, a 40-megawatt shortfall.

Additional rental generators from Aggreko at a cost for $450,000 per month have not met the shortfall.

Yesterday, Minnis said to shore up generation, an additional nine-megawatts of power from Aggreko units are expected to be returned to service.

The opposition has called for the executive management team at BPL to resign.

The load-shedding in recent months, has impacted businesses, some of which have reported losses in the thousands, hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars.