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Rental generators in place by end of next month

Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) is waiting for 25 megawatts of rental power to supplement its supply until the new engines that will produce 132 megawatts of power are installed at the corporation’s Clifton power station, its Executive Chairman Patrick Rollins told the media yesterday after the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation’s (BCCEC) Power Breakfast.

There have been concerns expressed by the public that BPL did not follow the laws set out by the Electricity Act in acquiring the seven new generators made by Wartsila, as it would call for the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) to approve the procurement of the engines.

The act mandates that URCA is to “review and approve, or reject, a determination by a public electricity supplier of a need for additional electricity generation by an independent power producer to ensure that it is reasonable, reflects efficiently incurred costs and is not inconsistent with, or in contravention of this act or any other law.”

The acts also adds: “(URCA is to) establish rules and approve competitive processes for procurement of power generation resources conducted by BPL, or any other public electricity supplier, and ensure such rules are fair, consistent and compatible with the objectives and principles of the electricity sector and national energy policies.”

According to Rollins, BPL did not have to follow these specific procedures through URCA that are set out in the act, because it is not adding power to the grid, but simply replacing generation that has had to be taken offline.

“Well from advice from our lawyers, this is replacement generation,” said Rollins.

“BPL has to go to URCA to get approval for new generation, but clearly all the generation we’re now getting is to replace either generators damaged by fire, or generators taken out of service because of age. So it’s all replacement generation.”

Rollins said the supplemental rental generators should be in place by the end of next month, to ensure there is enough generating capacity for the peak summer months.

He said he could not say how much BPL is paying for the additional rental generators because it is proprietary information, but added that BPL has paid enough in rental fees throughout the past eight years to build a new power plant.

Rollins said this summer should be the last time BPL requires rental units, which are being supplied by the same supplier that has provided rental power for several years, Aggreko. 

Chester Robards

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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