Abaco load shedding deals ‘tremendous blow’

Abaco load shedding deals ‘tremendous blow’
BPL technician services power line (FILE PHOTO)

Wilson City plant back online by month’s end — BPL

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Abaco Chamber of Commerce said yesterday that load shedding on the island has dealt a ‘tremendous blow’ to businesses looking to resume and sustain their operations on the hurricane-ravaged island.

Abaco Chamber of Commerce director Krista Albury yesterday bemoaned the company’s three hour load shedding schedule for South Abaco.

“The power situation as of late has managed to get worse than what it was before,” Albury said.

“The Marsh Harbour substation is down and BPL on island has reported load shedding. They have indicated that it would be for the foreseeable future until a part is delivered. This has been a tremendous blow against businesses in Abaco in their thrust to return and sustain their operations. We are now load shedding every three hours.”

Albury said: “We are trying to find out from BPL what the approximate timeline is for this part to come back and to find out if we have that much of a load on island and why the Wilson City plant isn’t on as yet.

“Somehow things have manage to get worse. In his very hot summer we have limited power, and few answers. I do commend them for their efforts in getting poles back up and some of the smaller communities getting back up but if we cant have sustainable power now with so few homes ready to be reconnected what are we to do when more people flock back.”

BPL executives said yesterday the company was aiming to have the Wilson City plant back online by month’s end.

BPL chief operations officer Ian Pratt while speaking at a press conference via Zoom yesterday noted that among the factors affecting the restoration strategy on Abaco was the break up of the transmission system.

Pratt said: “In addition to the damage to the transmission system we would have also had damage to the generation plant. We have two stations on the mainland Marsh Harbour is the smaller of the two stations housing 9 MW of generation capacity. This site received significant damage.

“It is likely that the engines themselves will be salvaged but the building control system, auxiliary equipment etc that would cause those engines to run were all significantly damage by the storm. At our Wilson City plant there was much less damage to the structure.

“That plant was a 48 MW plant and is the workhorse of Abaco, that received some slight damage. There is a roll-up door going into the power station building that was damaged during the storm event and caused water to get through.

“Obviously we have to trek through and make sure any affects of that water ingress is dealt with before we attempt to run those engines,” said Pratt.

Pratt said that a full plant assessment and repairs have been carried out.

He noted that commissioning engineers were brought in to do final testing and insurance required checks before the plant is returned to service.

“We are aiming to bring that plant online by the end of the month,” he said.