Western, southern NP residents should brace for prolonged outages

Western, southern NP residents should brace for prolonged outages
BPL’s Clifton Pier Power Station (File Photo)

Gladstone Road primary substation out of service

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — As load shedding continues to impact Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) customers on New Providence, residents in western and southern New Providence should brace themselves for possible prolonged outages after BPL’s Gladstone Road Primary Substation went out of service this afternoon.

According to BPL, a company performing works along the New Providence Landfill came into contact with a transmission line on Skyline Drive this afternoon, causing the substation to become out of service.

The substation is tied to South Westridge, John F. Kennedy Drive, Gladstone Road, Firetrail Road, Carmichael Road — from Flamingo Gardens to Coral Harbour East, Golden Isles Road and Cowpen Road, including all communities and side streets.

“A team is on the way to assess the line now so that we can restore service to customers affected,” BPL said around 2 p.m. “We will update as the work progresses.”

Load shedding

BPL has been load shedding in New Providence since June, the result of two downed generators representing approximately 44 megawatts of power.

These outages range from three to five hours depending on the strain on the grid.

As of yesterday, BPL said load shedding was expected in three-hour intervals due to a 48.5-megawatt shortfall. It estimated that shortfall was around 30 megawatts today, requiring the same timeline for outages.

As it relates to work on the downed engines, BPL said its teams were working to repair the engines. On one of the units, the engine was found to have sustained major damage and BPL determined it had to be replaced.

The power company said sourcing of the engine had begun with both local and international sources and a decision on a “direction” was expected today. Meanwhile, assembly of the component on the second unit should be completed this evening, according to BPL, which said providing the engine starts, its specialist will be able to assess it.

The timeline to repair both engines was originally August 30 and September 6.

The new timeline for both engines to be repaired remains unclear.

This week, customers have complained of exacerbated outages, lasting in some instances well over five hours, and in others, areas being powerless up to three times a day.

When asked about these reports, BPL Director of Communications Quincy Parker said, “… During particularly heavy load shedding periods, the load shedding may go through the entire cycle of feeders and repeat. This would mean that some areas are forced to suffer load shedding two times during a 12 or 24-hour period. This is something BPL works hard to avoid, but it happens from time to time, and we apologize to those customers affected.”

Quincy Parker, courtesy of Twitter

There was an island-wide outage on Monday, prompting widespread rebuke of the power company as Bahamians continue to reel over the devastation cause in Abaco and Grand Bahama by Hurricane Dorian.

BPL said “ingress moisture” into part of the Blue Hills Power Station that was supposed to be watertight led to the incident.

“The outage knocked out one of our other engines at BHPS, which has exacerbated the load shedding,” BPL said Monday night. “We are attempting to run the engine up to load over the next 48-hours.”

The impacted engine represents 17 to 22 megawatts of power.

“As we have reported, we are focusing on the two units at BHPS because together they have a total output of 44 megawatts, which more than makes up the generation deficit we face during peak energy consumption hours,” the power provider said. “The generation deficit is what has led to the heavy load shedding.”