PLP says BPL’s deal with Wartsila “does not add up”

PLP says BPL’s deal with Wartsila “does not add up”

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Philip Brave Davis on Wednesday took issue with the recent agreement that was signed between Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) with the Finnish Company, Wärtsilä, to construct a new power plant at Clifton Pier.

The PLP said on the face of it, this agreement simply does not add up.

“The question that must be asked is if Shell North America signed a contract with BPL to provide power generation capacity of 200 megawatts for $300 million dollars at no cost to BPL, then why is BPL expending $95 million dollars to get short term generation capacity. If that is justified by the need to meet short term demand, the next issue is why couldn’t Shell be asked to advance their project,” Davis asked in a statement issued yesterday.

Wärtsilä is expected to install seven new high-efficiency engines; replacing four vintage engines which have been in operation at BPL since the 1980s.

By the end of summer 2019, BPL said it will have a new 132-megawatt engine power plant, and its introduction will mean that BPL will soon be able to discontinue paying almost $2 million dollars monthly to rent power generators. It also means that the company will be able to use heavy fuel oil, which is more cost effective.

Whitney Heastie, CEO of BPL, told the media at Monday’s signing that consumers will eventually see the benefits on their electricity bills. However, president of the Bahamas Electrical Workers Union (BEWU) President Paul Maynard referred to the contract signed between BPL and Wärtsilä as a “joke”.

He told Eyewitness News Online that BPL should have trained its staff before awarding the contract to Wärtsilä; to ensure that the local workforce would be able to handle the construction and management of the power plant.

Meanwhile, the PLP leader also queried in his press statement whether Shell would reimburse BPL for the $95 million dollars in expenditure, stating that some “parliamentary scrutiny” was needed in the matter.

“This is particularly the case when all of this takes place against the backdrop of the allegations made by the last Chairman of the Corporation, Darnell Osborne, and the other members who were removed in protest,” Davis said.

“The PLP intends to ‘get to the bottom’ of this.

“There are two requests for Select Committees: one in the Lower House and the other in the Senate that the Opposition members intend to move at the earliest appropriate time,” the PLP statement concluded.