Maynard: BPL still teetering on crisis

The BEWU president says Aggreko, Hitachi shares blame for generation shortfall

NASSAU, BAHAMAS- While asserting there has been some recent reprieve at Bahamas Power and Light (BPL), Bahamas Electrical Workers Union (BEWU) President Paul Maynard maintained yesterday that the power company is still teetering on the edge of a crisis situation.

“As things break down, we are going to have to load shed,” he told Eyewitness News Online.

“The guys are feverishly working, but they are waiting on parts for G10.

“The other day number four was off and they worked around the clock to get that back up.

“G11 went off and they worked around the clock to get that up.

“We are dealing with ancient equipment, so if something fails or trips offline, we have to deal with it in order for us not to load shed.

He continued, “My thing is, if I am paying a company almost $30 million for power and they are joking around, and you are messing around with them; we don’t have time for this foolishness.

“It’s the same thing with that G7. We are waiting on [Japanese conglomerate] Hitachi

to send someone from Japan to do an inspection or whatever they have to do, and they can’t even get Hitachi now.

BPL reinitiated load shedding in a three-hour rotation Monday as a result of generation challenges.

The exercise has become common practice in recent months, much to the frustration of residential and commercial customers, whom have complained of suffering the inconvenience of hours-long outages, lost equipment, severe impact of business and a loss of customers during blackouts.

BPL Director of Communications Quincy Parker that the company has had to load shed as a result of “persistent generation shortfall”.

Additional rental generation was expected to be supplemented by Aggreko to shore up BPL’s generation capacity within the first week of July.

Asked about the status of those units, Parker said five megawatts of rental units were sent to Bimini to bolster generation on the island; 14 megawatts have been installed in New Providence and Aggreko was “working with BPL to bring the remainder online as soon as possible”.

Another six megawatts of rental generation is expected to be installed on New providence.

It remains unclear when that installation will be completed.

Yesterday, Maynard said management must address the matter with Aggreko.

He lamented the lack of movement with the additional units.

Asked whether those units had landed in New Providence, Maynard said he could not say.

 

Hard work

BPL has been the target on considerable public angst, particularly in recent months as the company struggles to keep the lights on.

The BEWU president also said he believes the Bahamian public does not have a full appreciation of how hard BPL employees work to keep the power provider functioning and providing power to its customers.

“They don’t understand that it’s not the employees’ fault for what’s going on

“We’ve been needing to engines for five years now.

“The point is, even with the new engines coming in this December, we still need another 133-140 megawatts to put us over the top.

“Your problem is not going to be solved with the new plant unless they keep the 50 to 60 megawatts of rental units in order for it to sustain itself.

“If you want to totally let all the rental units go, what you’re going to have to do is invest in another 130-140 megawatts, in addition to [dealng with the transmission and distribution] system.