Tuesday, Jul 23, 2019
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Cooper: Heads should roll over blackouts

Exumas and Ragged Island MP Chester Cooper yesterday called for heads to roll after continuous power outages across New Providence over the past week.

“Someone needs to be fired,” he said in an address at a Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Southern Shores constituency meeting.

“Not tomorrow, but today on the spot.

“There has to be some level of accountability at [Bahamas Power and Light] BPL.”

Over the last week, many BPL customers on New Providence experienced frequent power outages, some lasting hours, in what the power company initially said was a planned load shedding exercise.

Some Family Islands also experienced outages, including Bimini and Abaco, according to BPL.

Load shedding on New Providence continued yesterday, with many areas impacted amid scorching temperatures.

Residents and business owners have expressed anger over the lack of reliable power as well as the lack of communication from BPL.

While BPL Chairman Dr. Donovan Moxey apologized on Monday for the problems customers have been experiencing, Cooper felt that the apology was insufficient and called for Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis to address the ongoing issues at the power company.

“After days of silence on this issue and a week of untold suffering, the new BPL chairman, who got his job after the prime minister fired the previous board, got up and said he apologized,” Cooper said.

“How nice, eh?

“After babies and the elderly and everybody else was left to sweat and suffer, we get an apology.

“After sick people couldn’t get the oxygen machines to work in their homes, we get an apology.

“After business after business had to shut down and send employees home, we get an apology.”

He added, “An apology won’t help the hundreds, maybe thousands, across our country who lose appliances and electronics from the surges and who complain that they get peanuts in settlement from BPL.

“I call on [the Utilities Regulation & Competition Authority] URCA to investigate the policies and practices of BPL as it relates to reimbursement for the damage they cause.”

Cooper continued, “And all this time, the prime minister is silent. All this mouth in Parliament about the PLP being corrupt, but where’s his mouth now?”

Earlier this week, Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister claimed that despite the recent load shedding, this summer has so far been far better in terms of power reliability than any summer under the PLP.

Cooper denied those claims saying it was never this bad under the PLP and asserted that consumers experienced electricity that was both more reliable and more affordable in the summer of 2016, the last one under the former administration. 

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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