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BEC criticized for weekend power outages

The Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) was criticized over the weekend following power outages on weekend power outages.  Many people on the popular social networking website Facebook complained about the unbearable summer heat exacerbated by the lack of electricity to power their air conditioners and fans.

Other people complained to The Nassau Guardian directly about losing electronic items when the power surged back to life.

Other comments on Facebook were simply humorous but outlined the seriousness and inconvenience the outages have been causing.

BEC released a statement Saturday similar to other statements released in the past two months, citing unexpected generator failures as the cause for the outages, coupled with a major generator being taken off the grid for maintenance.

“The Bahamas Electricity Corporation is in the process of repairing one of its units at the Clifton Pier Power Station that was taken offline around 8 p.m. on Friday, July 1st, 2011 after it developed a fault,” the statement said.  “The result is a generation shortfall impacting electricity supply in New Providence and Paradise Island.  The corporation advises that repairs are already underway in an effort to return the unit to service in the shortest possible time. BEC expects that, based on its initial assessment, the unit will be back online later today (Saturday, July 2nd, 2011).  Until the unit is fixed, customers can expect periods of supply disruption into Saturday.

“BEC notes that the failure of this latest unit coincides with repairs to another large capacity unit that is being overhauled.”

The Progressive Liberal Party released a statement yesterday accusing the Free National Movement (FNM) of playing “Russian Roulette with the welfare of young and senior Bahamians who are vulnerable to the high summer temperatures.”

The statement chided the FNM for not carrying out the maintenance on BEC’s generators during the winter season that Phenton Neymour, the minister with responsibility for the utility company, said would happen.  Neymour has contended that money was not available at the time for the generator overhauls.

“It was junior Minister Phenton Neymour who assured the Bahamians in mid-2010 that a major overhaul of BEC’s generators would be executed during the winter season of 2010-11, and the said maintenance only began a few days before summer officially began,” the PLP statement read.

“Clearly the government has its priorities terribly misplaced, thereby adversely affecting the welfare and well-being of its citizens.”

BEC in its statement on Saturday apologized for the inconvenience caused by the outages and promised that the outages would not continue throughout the summer.

“The corporation understands the frustration of its customers, especially as these outages coincide with rising summer temperatures.  In addition to an aggressive repair schedule, BEC is moving swiftly to secure portable temporary generators that should be installed this month.”

The statement continued, “The corporation ensures its customers that what residents are experiencing at present will not continue throughout the summer.”

In its statement the PLP is asking for Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham to personally apprise the country of the reasons for the outages.


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