Thursday, Jul 18, 2019
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LIGHTS OUT

Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) does not have sufficient generation to the meet the current summer demand on New Providence and has had to conduct load shedding on the island, it said in a statement yesterday.

BPL said the generation shortfall is expected to last well into next week.

“The load shedding of the last week is due to the reality that BPL has, at present, insufficient generation available to meet the demand on the system,” the statement read.

“Demand has begun to increase toward the summer peak as is customary at this time of year.

“We acknowledge the inconvenience and frustration this causes and assure all that we are committed to improving our ability to prevent load shedding, and ensuring better customer service when we are forced to employ that tool.”

The statement noted that two of BPL’s larger generators at the Clifton Pier Power Station were rendered inoperable last year, reducing BPL’s generation capacity.

“Added to that, routine scheduled maintenance was required on additional generators in advance of the summer peak,” the statement said.

“The last of these works remains in progress and is expected to be concluded by the end of the month.

“Additionally, unplanned and unexpected challenges developed over the past week at both the Clifton and Blue Hills power stations, affecting energy supply.

“These issues together resulted in the present generation shortfall necessitating load shedding and regretfully impacting our customers.”

BPL said in a Facebook post that yesterday’s power supply issues, in particular, were due to an engine failure at the Blue Hills Power Station.

“Every effort is being made to conclude the routine maintenance and necessary repairs, and to supplement generation with additional units to bring an end to the load shedding in the short term,” the statement continued.

“The first of the impacted generating units is expected to be returned to service during the week commencing May 20.

“The return of this unit will go a long way toward improving the present situation.

“Unfortunately, the generation shortfall is expected to persist until this occurs.

“As previously indicated, the ongoing routine maintenance activities will be concluded in June, further boosting the available generation capacity.”

BPL conducted a number of load shedding exercises last year after several fires caused significant damage at the company’s Clifton Pier plant.

The corporation announced in March that Finnish technology group Wartsila will install a new 132-megawatt engine power plant at a cost of $95 million to increase the generation capacity on New Providence.

The engines arrived this week, but the plant will not be in use until the end of summer.

BPL also said that an additional 25 megawatts of rental generation for the Blue Hills Power Station will become available at the end of this month.

The power company has historically struggled to keep up with an increased demand for electricity on New Providence during summer months.
 
 
 
 

Rachel Knowles

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues.
Education: Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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