Friday, Oct 18, 2019
HomeNewsSome residents slept outdoors during load shedding

Some residents slept outdoors during load shedding

For the umpteenth time in the past week, night fell and the electricity in Stapledon Gardens was not on.

Glimmers of lights from car headlights lit the yards of a few houses on dark streets across New Providence.

The muffled cries of children could be heard from homes in the distance.

The voice of man was heard shouting, “Man, not again. I just plug in my iron.”

The area was experiencing a power outage and it was not the first time for the day.

Collin Smith, 53, who has lived in Stapledon Gardens for more than five years, said his power has already been off more than six times for the week.

Swatting mosquitoes from his face and pointing at a dark yard, Smith said, “I have to sleep outside now.”

The tears of his young grand-niece crept into the darkness from the air-conditioned car where Smith’s family sat.

“Bey, this is hurting me because I want my power on right now,” Smith told The Nassau Guardian.

“I can’t wash my clothes or nothing. Do you understand what I’m saying? It’s too hot. It’s terrible.”

Smith left the car and took The Guardian on a tour of his property.

“I’m paying BPL (Bahamas Power and Light) and I ain’t getting no light,” he said.

“It hot. I have to sleep outside for a couple of days. It was me one. Mosquitoes were biting me but that’s what I have to do.”

Over the past week, many BPL customers on New Providence experienced frequent power outages, some lasting hours, with many areas impacted amid scorching temperatures.

While Brendan Archer’s neighborhood has experienced more than four outages for the week, he said he hasn’t had to suffer through the heat or darkness because he has a generator.

Archer said it is unlikely he will be able to afford the maintenance of the generator if the outages prove to be long term.

“At the end of the day, I still have to purchase gasoline for the generator and a lot of the time I would be in my vehicle burning A/C even though that takes gas too, but I prefer that over the generator,” Archer said.

“It’s three days into the week and I have already spent more than $200 on gas for my generator and $60 on gas for my car. Short term, I can afford these prices but long-term no.”

A few streets away, a child could be heard shrieking.

The one-year-old’s father, Cruz Culmer, 26, was standing outside with his mother.

“It’s hot inside so we came out here to catch some breeze,” said Culmer whose face could barely be seen beneath the dark sky.

“This little boy is cry every time current go off because when he feel that heat he is go crazy.

“It’s hectic dealing with these blackouts with a young child. It’s like he’s crying and it’s dark and you’re trying to find something to make him feel a little better but nothing’s working because it’s still hot.

“You try to cool him down or whatever and you’re getting yourself extra heated the same time.”

BPL has historically struggled to meet the increased demand for electricity on New Providence during the summer months.

While BPL Chairman Dr. Donovan Moxey said on Monday that some relief is expected by the end of this week with the installation of rental generation units, he noted that load-shedding is possible until much later this year when the installation of a new power plant at Clifton Pier will be complete.

The company 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 last month, but the plant will not be up and running until October, according to officials.

Jasper Ward

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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