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Mixed views on BPL reliability in Abaco

SPRING CITY, ABACO – Princess Bain, 42, a resident of Crossing Rocks, Abaco, said her power has gone off about five times in the last month.

She said the recent outages have made her life difficult because she has young children.

“I have three kids,” Bain said.

“The youngest is five years old. It’s disgusting trying to deal with kids when the power is off. There’s sun flies and my son complains that he’s getting bite and it’s very hot. It can be difficult.”

Bay said she hopes Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) sticks to its promise and makes this summer the last summer of load shedding because she doesn’t think she can handle any more days or nights without electricity.

Kayla Lockhart, who works as an office administrator, said power outages are not common in Dundas Town, where she lives.

“We had a power outage for the first time last week,” Lockhart said.

“[It’s] when they had the boating tournament [and that was] the first time in six or seven months. When the power goes out, it is normally that either the pole down or it’s bad weather, but we don’t have power outages like that, not like we used to. There was a time we used to, but not anymore.”

Asked how long the power is usually off for in Abaco, Lockhart said, “It’s been three or four hours but that’s nothing to complain about.”

Richard Roberts, 57, a contractor, who said he has lived in Abaco his entire life, disagrees.

He said there has been a spike in outrages in recent weeks.

However, he hasn’t felt the brunt of it because he owns a generator.

Speaking about the outages, Roberts said, “That is something that’s expected because [BPL] generators are man made stuff and everything is bound to fail one day or another.

“Yes, I’ve dealt with the outages but I kick up my generator when the power goes so it’s not as bad.”

Earlier this month, Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister said he had a “special concern” for Abaco with regard to power outages.

“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,” Bannister said.

“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.”

In April, BPL Executive Director Patrick Rollins declared that this summer will be the last summer of load shedding.

BPL 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 earlier this month, but the plant will not be in use until the end of summer.

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice
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