Insisting that the government owes the Bahamian people a full explanation over the latest saga at Bahamas Power and Light (BPL), which has been plagued by three fires since Friday, Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis said yesterday that the Minnis administration should consider private management of the power company once again.
Speaking outside of the Clifton Pier Power Station shortly after firefighters extinguished the latest blaze, Davis said the progress made under the previous administration has been completely reversed.
Davis said notwithstanding criticisms of PowerSecure, which the Minnis administration mutually severed ties with shortly after assuming office, the company had a plan and headway was made toward more affordable and reliable power.
“They ought not to have fired PowerSecure,” Davis said.
“They ought to have to continued on that.
“If they needed to tweak it, they could have and should have.
“But right now… you have had [multiple] fires in the space of four days right here at this plant.
“The question is: Why are these fires occurring?
“And I understand that fire started at one of the generation plants that has just been recently overhauled. Why is that so?
“It requires a complete and frank explanation from the minister, from the government.
“And also, we have to understand what this means [for] the grid.
“Are we going to have continued load shedding, and if so, for how long?
“How is going to impact the cost of electricity going forward?”
The latest blaze erupted around 9 a.m., less than 12 hours after a fire broke out on Sunday night.
The fire on Friday crippled two generators at the Clifton Pier power plant.
Superintendent Walter Evans, officer in charge of Fire Services, said in each case, the fires were confined in the basement area, though the cause was still being investigated.
A team from Fire Services has been assigned to monitor the facility in intervals to act as a direct response in the event of another blaze.
It is unclear whether further damage was done to essential infrastructure and the potential impact on BPL’s ability to keep the lights on.
BPL said after the first fire that load shedding will ensue over the next few days.
Davis, the former minister of works and urban development, said the challenges at BPL and the knock-on effect on the Bahamian people appear to have no end in sight.
“The government, this present government, came into power with obviously no vision,” he said.
“They are tearing up [the] playbook that they met in place
“BPL was on a path to deliver to the Bahamian people, that which they so richly deserve, and that is reliable electricity; affordable electricity and we have to appreciate and understand that power/electricity is the heart of everything.”
It was pointed out that under the management of PowerSecure, there were outages and island-wide blackouts.
But he said these “legacy challenges” were being addressed, inclusive of a new legislative regime for the way forward.
The Minnis administration severed BPL’s management agreement with the U.S. power company last September, amid accusations by the then board that PowerSecure breached its agreement.
That board has since been replaced amid controversy.
Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister said the former BPL board members locked horns on almost every critical issue, though members of that board refuted the claims.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis pledged to carry out an investigation into what unfolded.
However, as of last week, the prime minister had yet to appoint a team to investigate the matter.
Yesterday, PLP Deputy Leader Chester Cooper said that the investigation should be independent as the government cannot be trusted to be impartial when investigating its own decisions via Cabinet.