More outages likely until new generators installed, minister says
Following a series of power outages last week, Minister of Works Desmond Bannister warned that Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) will “continue to have outages” until the new Wartsila generators arrive.
Engine failure at BPL’s Blue Hills power plant recently led to power outages across New Providence.
Speaking to reporters outside the Ministry of Works on Friday, Bannister said, “We’re going to continue to have outages and I keep telling the Bahamian people this. We’re going to continue to have outages in a number of areas because over the years nobody did anything to improve the facilities.
“When you see these generators start coming into New Providence now and you go look at Clifton [Pier], look at the date that those generators that were at Clifton were installed. [They were installed] in the 1970s, before you were born, Ms. Ward.”
“Before you ladies were born, that’s when those generators were installed, so if you have a car that’s a 1975 car and you’re driving it every day on the road and you’re driving it 24 hours a day, then you can expect you’re going to have some challenges.”
Last month, BPL announced that it had signed a contract with Wartsila 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.
Bannister said the installation of the generators will result in “a marked improvement in New Providence”.
“You’re going to see LED lights in our streets over the next few months and then you’re going to see an improvement on all the islands,” he said.
There was an island-wide power outage in Abaco on April 30.
It took BPL nearly four hours to fully restore power to the island.
While noting that he had a “special concern” for Abaco, Bannister said, “I think the people in Abaco know what they had in the past, where they had power going out constantly, and what they have now.
“It’s been such an improvement that the member of Parliament for South Abaco actually wrote to BPL and thanked them for the management that we’ve put in there to make a difference. The reliability of power in Abaco is at least 98 percent improved over the past and it’s going to continue to be improved, so I apologize for any outage we had.”
The minister also noted that he has “a particular concern” for the challenges in Bimini.
“We’re going to address the challenges in Bimini,” he said.
“I met with some of the stakeholders in Bimini [on Thursday] and we’re going to address the challenges in Bimini. One by one, we’re going to address all of these islands. By the time I leave office, don’t look for any of those challenges to be major challenges.”
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice