BPL: Cause of the fire not yet ascertained, but an internal investigation will be launched
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – As power has been fully restored to the island of Bimini after a fire erupted at The Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) facility on Monday night, Minister of Works, Desmond Bannister, who has responsibility for operations at BPL, said a thorough and independent investigation will be launched to determine the exact cause of the blaze.
According to police reports, shortly before 9:00 p.m. on Monday, police were alerted to a fire at BPL’s power plant in North Bimini.
Officers and members of the Bimini Volunteer Firefighters along with volunteers from the Bimini Bay Resort and the community, helped to extinguish the fire which destroyed two main engines at the plant.
Yesterday, Bannister offered an apology to Bimini residents who were impacted by the temporary power loss.
He noted, however, that despite the fire destroying two BPL’s engines, the remaining engines on hand sufficed to accommodate the loss of generation.
“We still have five operational engineers and power has been fully restored to Bailey Town from early this morning,” Bannister explained.
Power was also restored to Alice Town, Bimini, shortly after 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday.
Despite efforts to restore power to the island, Opposition Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman, Fred Mitchell, said fires have so far affected BPL plants in Abaco, New Providence and now Bimini.
Mitchell said in each case the public is not getting any answers, but it is clear that since the FNM came to power, electricity supply has gotten worse and the future does not look any brighter for BPL consumers.
“We need to know if what has happened is due once again to the imposition of the management team by the FNM government on BPL – a team which has stripped away resources for maintenance at family island plants,” Mitchell claimed.
Minister of Tourism and Aviation, Dionisio D’Aguilar, also told media outside of Cabinet yesterday that the BPL issues in Bimini are not new, but he does not see it affecting the tourism sector as there are several resorts on the island.
“I believe that the hotel properties have back-up power. I know because I was there a few weeks ago and there was a power failure and their generators kicked in,” D’Aguilar said.
A statement released last night from BPL’s Director of Communications, Quincy Parker, outlined that preliminary inspections at Station B in Bimini suggested that two primary generating units on the island, each rated at 4.4 MW, were irreparably damaged by the fire last evening.
“In addition to the engines and generators themselves, auxiliary equipment such as pumps, filters and electrical switchgear have also been destroyed by the blaze. These units represented the base load machines on the island,” BPL said.
BPL said the cause of the fire itself has not been ascertained, but will be the subject of an internal BPL investigation.
The fire will also be reviewed by relevant agencies and local and international insurance adjusters, BPL said.
“At present in Bimini, BPL has approximately 8.5 MW of generation available. Assessments are being made to determine the short and long term plans and steps necessary to ensure the reliability of the supply.
“We will provide further updates as information becomes available,” the BPL statement concluded.