BPL refutes load shedding, but said power outages will occur
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Hundreds of Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) customers in western New Providence were without electricity for hours yesterday as the power provider attempted repairs related to a tripped line from the Windsor Field substation.
The trip occurred just after 4pm as BPL was upgrading the transmissions and distribution infrastructure at the substation, according to BPL Director of Public Relations Quincy Parker.
“As a result, power went off and we have a team on site to get power back, and that team is on site working on it now,” he told Eyewitness News around 6pm.
Areas impacted included parts of Carmichael Road, Coral Harbour, Blake Road, the John D. Kennedy Police Station, Caves Village, North Westridge, Sandyport and Delaport, among others.
This is the fourth time this week there have been outages in portions of New Providence.
In an update around 7.40pm, BPL said its teams were still hard at work on site since the overhead line at substation tripped offline, apologized for the inconvenience caused.
A flurry of commentary from predominantly frustrated consumers appeared on social media following the latest outage.
Chrysal Ann, a resident of New Providence, said “The minute this heat hit all [kind of] poles need repairs and tripped lines. Sounds like load shedding to me. This is ridiculous. Five hours last night of suffering in the heat. BPL was the only one running behind people, indirectly, for money during this pandemic and they have the absolute worst service. And that’s saying something. I hope this is not a taste of what we have to look forward to again this summer.”
As of 9pm last night, there were reports that customers had yet to be returned to the grid and in some instances, including North Westridge and Sandyport, power was not fully restored.
Lyandra Bryan said: “Electricity came on in north Westridge, but not all the way. The lights are dim and the fan is low. Please check.”
Tamara Johnson, another western New Providence resident, said she was experiencing similar power issues in her home.
“Full power doesn’t appear to be coming to the building,” she said. “Lights are dim and certain electronics are not working properly.”
On Tuesday, scores of residents of eastern New Providence were left powerless for the third time in 48-hours.
An outage around 8pm Tuesday, impacted residents from Old Trail Road to Joe Farrington Road and several surrounding areas.
Reports of a broken overhead power line of Faith Avenue around 7.20 pm caused an outage in the area.
One of two power lines servicing the Winton substation tripped early Monday, leaving consumers in the dark.
Upon completion of repair works on Tuesday afternoon, another outage occurred, briefly impacted customers on Yamacraw Hill Road.
Yesterday, Parker refuted any suggestion the power company has been load shedding.
He said BPL has sufficient generation capacity to meet even record peak demand, but customers must understand outages can still, as other issues can arise, particularly on the transmissions and distribution network.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, demand for power peaked at around 220 megawatts in New Providence, according to Parker.
BPL has installed generation capacity of over 403 megawatts, of which 320 megawatts is active.
Parker pointed out that the record peak demand of 2017 was 248 megawatts, as he made the point the power company is well poised from a generation standpoint as a result of recent investments in infrastructure.
BPL installed seven new Wartsila engines at its Clifton Pier Power Station, adding 132 megawatts of power to the grid, in addition to an engine at its Blue Hills Power Station.
The engines were brought online in December.
BPL was widely criticized last year for its failure to keep the power on during the summer months.
At the time, the power company said the persistent load shedding between mid-June and November was due to a generation shortfall that was exacerbated by two downed generators.
In March, two of the new Wartsila engines tripped offline, leading to outages across New Providence.
Last month, an island-wide outage left consumers powerless for three hours.