Old, faulty equipment responsible for outage, says union

President of Bahamas Electrical Workers Union, Paul Maynard.

The protection system at the Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) has not been upgraded for nearly 30 years, according to President of the Bahamas Electrical Workers Union (BEWU) Paul Maynard, and is the reason the power company will continue to experience mass outages until it is fixed.

In an interview with Eyewitness News Maynard said without a new protection system, which could cost as much as $15 million, “every time the power trips, the entire island will go out”.

“A line at Baillou Hills got hit by lightning and caused a break in the transmission line,” Maynard said.

“What should have happened is the breaker should have operated and it didn’t because we have ancient equipment and the engine tripped. The point is, we have an ancient system that needs upgrading and until we get new equipment, the problem will continue.

“This system has been in place since 1990 and since then, nothing has happened. We have bad outdated sub stations, outdated switchers, and we need upgrades right away. This will happen more often than not because engines shut down to protect themselves. I don’t know why this problem was never corrected. I assume it’s just bad decisions.”

Portions of New Providence were without power for more than six hours Sunday evening, after most of the island experienced a black out.

Bahamas Power and Light’s (BPL) Public Relations Manager McMahon Campbell told Eyewitness News on Sunday, that the power outage was attributed to severe lightening, which he said caused a “trip” at the Clifton Pier power plant around 5:50 p.m.

He reported that restoration efforts had begun and light was restored early Monday morning.