Western NP residents without power for hours

Western NP residents without power for hours
Bahamas Power and Light's headquarters.

BPL points to technical issue at Windsor Field substation

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Hundreds of residents in portions of western New Providence were left powerless for several hours last night after Bahamas Power and Light’s (BPL) Windsor Field substation experienced a “technical difficulty”.

The issue triggered protective systems designed to detect and isolate problems, according to BPL.

The system was activated just after 6:30 p.m. and isolated power at Windsor Field and Skyline primary substations, which supplies were affected in Cable Beach, Skyline, Westward Villas, Stapledon, West Wind, Old Fort Bay and Coral Harbour.

“Teams were immediately dispatched to investigate the source of the concern and were quickly able to transfer the affected areas to alternate systems and restore supply to the affected consumers,” BPL said in a statement.

According to the power provider, power was restored to the affected areas around 8:50 p.m.

It said teams continue to work to correct the problem that caused the protective system to operate.

The power company did not expand on the nature of the problem

BPL has been widely criticized and rebuked in recent months for its failure to keep the power on during the summer. It said this was due to a generation shortfall that was exacerbated by two downed generators.

The power company has been consistently load-shedding since mid-June.

Load shedding exercises become more persistent between July and October, lasting up to five hours in some instances, much to the frustration of residential consumers and the business community.

BPL Director of Public Relation Quincy Parker made clear that BPL had not initiated load-shedding yesterday.

The BPL statement read: “We were able to avoid load shedding last night and today, and we do not expect to have to load shed tonight.”

“While output is down a little from some of our machines, we are still in the surplus column and have enough capacity to meet our expected peak.”

The statement continued: “In the event that we lose an engine unexpectedly or something else happens to affect our capacity, and we do have to load shed, we will post the schedule on our social media outlets as usual.”

One of the downed engines has been returned to service, while the other (GT7) was still being worked on by technical teams.

A third generator (GT10) which has been down since June 2018 remains out of service.

Attempts to return to the unit in November 2018 and March 2019 after BPL retained a service provider were unsuccessful.

“Having exhausted all avenues, a new camshaft had to be ordered,” BPL said.

“As the camshaft is not a shelf item, it had to be manufactured delaying the return of this asset. This was the primary delay of the return of the unit.

“We have made significant progress on the unit of late and hope to have a better sense when we may be prepared to run tests that would allow us to assess when this unit may be able be brought back online.”