Consumers who have seen their Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) bills spike in recent months might not get any relief for months as the electricity company continues to grapple with generation issues stemming from a fire that impacted two of the Clifton Pier power station’s largest engines in September.
Chairman of BPL Dr. Donovan Moxey said BPL is working on securing additional assets to compensate for the loss of those engines, but said that might not happen until next summer.
“The spike in the cost of electricity is due to a number of factors,” he said during a press conference on Friday at BPL’s Tucker Road headquarters.
“First of all, we lost some critical assets at Clifton Pier, about 60 to 70 megawatts that was used to generate electricity for New Providence, given the fire that we had.
“Those particular generation assets were running on heavy fuel oil (HFO), which is the least expensive of the fuels that we use to generate electricity.
“We had to shift that load to Blue Hills (power plant). Blue Hills runs mostly on ADO, automotive diesel oil, which is much more expensive than HFO.
“So, when we lost those assets at Clifton and we had to shift our load to Blue Hills, we ended up utilizing the more expensive fuel, and right now our fuel mixture is 70 percent ADO, 30 percent HFO.
“So that’s what caused that inherent spike in the cost of electricity.”
The fire that erupted on September 7 caused damage to station C, which houses two of the largest generators, prompting BPL to loadshed throughout New Providence.
Firefighters have also responded to two other fires at the plant since then.
While the first fire caused significant damage at the plant, BPL said the second and third fires were minor, and no additional damage was caused as a result.
Moxey said BPL is working on finding a solution.
“What I can tell you is we are working on getting other assets at Clifton back online… The assessment is still being done on the fire and the damage that was caused by the fire to DA-12 and DA-11,” he said.
“We’re also looking at bringing on additional assets in time for summer of next year.
“So, our hope is to shift most of our base load back to Clifton Pier and utilize the least expensive HFO fuel. That’s what we’re working toward.”
Asked for a timeline, Moxey added, “Internally, we have some timelines. We’re looking at early summer, so I’m not going to give a specific date. We recognize that our peak requirement for BPL starts out in the summertime, so our goal is to get everything up and running by early summer. That’s what we’re looking to do.”