Load shedding, temporary outages plague NP

Unsettled weather offers retrieve to heat amid persistent outages

NASSAU, BAHAMAS- Rampant load shedding across New Providence over the holiday weekend, left thousands of Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) customers powerless.

The strong winds and heavy downpour over the last few days brought some reprieve from the summer heat.

BPL initiated load shedding last Thursday around 8:30 p.m.

The exercise continued for much of Friday, Saturday and Sunday in a three-hour rotation.

In a statement around 9:30 a.m. Sunday, BPL also advised consumers in Blue Hill Road, Golden Gates #2, Solider Road and Garden Hills that due to a blown transformer power in those areas would be interrupted temporarily.

Minutes later, the company said power had been restored to Blue Hill Road and Goldens Gates #2.

Around 11 p.m., BPL said due to “technical difficulties” power to nearly a dozen communities in southern and southeastern New Providence was interrupted shortly after 10 p.m.

Meanwhile, the company continued load shedding up until nearly midnight.

Around noon yesterday, the power provider said areas surrounding Stew Fish Drive and Carmichael Road experienced a “temporary outage” due to a faulty transformer.

“Our teams are currently working to resolve this problem as quickly as possible,” BPL wrote.

Some customers took to social media to bemoan the outages, while blasting BPL for issuing updates “way after the… current has been off for hours”.

Steffons Evans, the outreach officer and project manager at the Bahamas National Trust, called on the government to intervene, labelling the challenges with the power supply, an “energy crisis”.

“Dear BPL, it is not acceptable, cute or funny to be awoken by sweat and heat to frantically check that your loved one hasn’t [succumbed] to a heat stroke as a result of load shedding exercises, power failures [and the ultimate] lack of electricity,” said Shantelle Nicole.

Frustrated BPL customers have lamented the company’s poor service and persistent outages in recent months, calling it unacceptable.

“People are officially sick and tired of [all of your] foolishness,” said Sam Dar.

“You all have inconvenienced [us] regularly for weeks now and still cannot get it together.

“Please stop with the halfway, incomplete updates. [They] are absolutely useless to a large group of people affected. Your correspondence and communication are awful and insulting to paying customers. No one is asking for favors.

“As paying customers we are asking to be treated with respect.”

Speaking to Eyewitness News Online last week, Bahamas Electrical Workers Union (BEWU) President Paul Maynard said while there has been some improvement recently, the power provider was still teetering on crisis.

He also said even after BPL benefits from the new 132-megawatt plant at Clifton Power, which is expected to be completed before the end of the year.

In March, the power company announced that Finnish technology group Wartsila will install the new $95 million plant to increase generation in New Providence.

In June, Moxey said sufficient rental generation would be installed before the end of the first week in July to provide some relief, however, he advised that load shedding could still be possible until the installation of the new plant is complete.

Nearly a month later, the full complement of rental units has yet to be installed.

When contacted yesterday, Moxey deferred questions about BPL’s operations to BPL Director of Communications Quincy Parker.

In a correspondence last week, Parker said five megawatts of rental units was sent to Bimini to bolster power generation on that island; 14 megawatts have been installed in New Providence, and Aggreko — the world’s largest temporary power generation company — was “working with BPL to bring the remainder (six megawatts) online as soon as possible”.

However, Maynard accused Aggreko of “joking around” with the installation and said as a result, the company was partly responsible for BPL’s inability to meet demand.