PM: U.S. team in NP to assist BPL

PM: U.S. team in NP to assist BPL
Prime Minister, Dr. Hubert Minnis.

Minnis labels power situation as “simply unacceptable”

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — As New Providence residents continue to endure exacerbated load shedding on a day-to-day basis with no reprieve in sight until demand drops off for electricity, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said yesterday that the government is “deeply unhappy” with the “unacceptable” power supply challenges gripping Bahamas Power and Light (BPL).

In a statement, Minnis said a six-man team of specialists from Pennsylvania-based Philadelphia Gear arrived in New Providence and has begun work to return an additional 20-megawatts of power to service at the Blue Hills Power Plant.

He said BPL will notify the public of progress on the assets.

He advised that Cabinet met with executives and board members of Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) on Tuesday to discuss the “unacceptable state of power generation on New Providence”.

He acknowledged that over the last several months, BPL has engaged in prolonged periods of load shedding, due to a decaying generation fleet that has challenged the power company’s ability to generate power in New Providence for decades.

“I am deeply unhappy that our families are suffering,” Minnis said.

“I fully understand that Bahamians and residents want clear and immediate action.

“I want to assure you that the government is committed to doing whatever is necessary to alleviate this problem, including further additional measures.

“The frustration and inconvenience experienced by Bahamians and residents — in homes and in businesses — throughout New Providence is simply unacceptable.

“We are doing all we can to fix this problem long-term, and to ensure that Bahamians and residents receive the consistent power supply that they deserve.”

The prime minister noted that work has already begun on a new 132-megawatt power plant at Clifton Pier as a part of that long-term solution to reliable energy.

He said in the short-term, BPL is executing a plan to mitigate its shortfall in generation that is expected to provide some relief to residents as soon as possible.

BPL’s demand in New Providence has peaked at 250-megawatts.

Due to failed generators, BPL has been producing 210-megwatts, a 40-megawatt shortfall.

Additional rental generators from Aggreko at a cost for $450,000 per month have not met the shortfall.

Yesterday, Minnis said to shore up generation, an additional nine-megawatts of power from Aggreko units are expected to be returned to service.

The opposition has called for the executive management team at BPL to resign.

The load-shedding in recent months, has impacted businesses, some of which have reported losses in the thousands, hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars.

Noting that the power outages are being given “highest priority”, the Utilities Regulations Competition Authority (URCA) said it will investigate the prolonged and persistent power outages which have plagued thousands of customers on New Providence.