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BPL engine failure leaves parts of NP without power

Bahamians on various parts of New Providence were left without power for about three and a half hours on Saturday after Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) reported an engine failure at its Blue Hills power plant.

“We had an engine failure at the Blue Hills power station and as a result of that engine failure there were some ongoing power issues,” BPL’s Director of Public Relations Quincy Parker said in an interview with The Nassau Guardian.

“The engine failed twice within a short space of time.

“That engine was responsible for outages that we experienced [on Saturday].”

Parker said the engine failed at around 2:52 p.m. on Saturday, and power was on and off until 6:20 p.m. Additionally, he reported another short power outage from 11:05 a.m. to 11:33 a.m. yesterday.

During the first outage, BPL reported that Wulff Road, East Street North and South, Winton Heights and Ernest Street were affected.

During the second outage, BPL said areas around the Bahamas Customs Department, Ministry of Tourism, Supreme Court, Marshall Road, Abundant Life Road, Baillou Hill North and South, Baha Mar East and West and areas near the Private Trust Corporation were affected.

Asked if the public should be concerned about power outages in the near future, Parker said that load shedding cannot be anticipated at this point.

“…Until this new station is built at Clifton Pier, which is what we are bending all our energies toward to make sure that this happens [by] the end of the summer,” Parker said.

“…Until that happens, until we get that engine hall stuff completed, until all the power from the 132-megawatt station is being pumped into the system, we will be vulnerable.

“Even with the rental generation that’s coming in, we’ll still be vulnerable.

“What is expected to happen is that at the end of the summer when this new station is up and running, we will be able to provide stable and reliable power.

“Until then we are relying on engines that are being maintained by the brilliance and genius of the Bahamian mechanical engineering staff and the hopes and prayers of the Bahamian people, because honestly, you don’t know when an unexpected event is going to occur.

“You don’t know when an accident is going to happen, you don’t know when something unusual or unforeseen is going to pop off and all of a sudden, something is out.”

BPL conducted a number of load shedding exercises last year following four separate fires in September.

Three fires impacted BPL’s Clifton Pier power plant and the fourth impacted the company’s Blue Hills plant.

The first fire destroyed a generator at the plant; the second and third fires were minor, causing no additional damage; and the fourth left parts of New Providence without electricity for more than 12 hours.

The investigation into the fires has been completed, however, the reports have not yet been made public.

Last month, BPL announced it signed a contract with Wärtsilä to install 132-megawatts of power at Clifton at a cost of $95 million.

Following the announcement, BPL Executive Director Patrick Rollins claimed that this will be the last summer of load shedding.

Laurent Rolle

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Laurent started at The Nassau Guardian in May 2018 as a paginator. He transitioned to reporting in February 2019. Laurent has covered multiple crime stories. He is the author of “Yello”, which was published in February 2019.
Education: Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) 3rd Year

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