Saturday, Jan 18, 2020
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Let actions at BPL be proof

In recent memory, the situation in New Providence at the state energy supplier has been the same. When peak demand season comes in, the summers outages occur because the supplier can’t handle the load. The generation equipment Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) relies on is outdated.

BPL is moving toward long-term fixes. It has purchased 132-megawatts of engines from Wartsila for $95 million. Work is underway to install the new supply, which is expected to be online before the end of the year.

The deal with the Finnish company is supposed to work under a wider umbrella with Shell North America. This includes adding natural gas use. Natural gas is cleaner than the heavy fuel we regularly use. Under the understanding with Shell there should be 220 megawatts of power.

Fixing the situation at BPL is no easy task. The government is also working on debt restructuring and has issued packages to right size the organization.

A reform plan is in the works. It was unfortunate when, two weeks ago, BPL’s Chairman Dr. Donovan Moxey said the company was not expecting load shedding this summer. If the full new supply has not been installed, then of course there would be load shedding. Every resident of New Providence knows that. That’s how it always is. And that is what has happened.

Last week BPL’s Executive Director Patrick Rollins said this will be the last summer of load shedding. This statement was unnecessary, too. BPL and the government have already said what is being done to expand supply and make the organization stable. Currently, it is far from stable.

Let the plant be built. Bring it online. Make sure everything works. Make necessary adjustments. See how it works in the run-up to next summer. And if then BPL thinks it could handle the demand, promises could follow.

What is hoped for is that BPL puts in place the best plan to minimize the pain in the short term, while the long-term fixes are worked on. To this effort Rollins said rental generators, which will provide 25 megawatts of electricity, are expected to arrive by the end of May.

Let’s hope these help spare us from the worst of what BPL is capable of.

Successive administrations have had too short-term a view on BPL/BEC. Band-aid solution after band-aid solution has gotten us to where we are.

Stabilizing BPL in New Providence would be a major accomplishment for the Minnis administration. This island is the heart of the country’s economy. All who reside here would be happy if this goal were achieved.

BPL should keep at the hard work of bettering the service it delivers. When that service is better, proclamations would be unnecessary. The company’s reliability would speak for itself.

A new court complex

The Minnis administration has pledged to demolish the old General Post Office at East Hill Street. The building is falling apart. In its place the government wants to build a new Supreme Court complex.

In our editorial on Thursday, we mistakenly said a new Parliament is what the government pledged for the site. While the location would be ideal for a new Parliament, that’s not the current plan.

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