Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019
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BPL unclear on cause of island-wide power outage

Following nearly two weeks of non-stop load shedding, an island-wide blackout on New Providence crippled most residents and businesses.

Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) confirmed that the blackout began at 11:45 a.m.

Some areas of the island were brought back online over the course of the day, but others remained off for several hours.

While outages over the past two weeks were due to planned load shedding, the power company said that investigations were underway to determine the reason behind yesterday’s island-wide outage.

Brinique Rolle, owner of Unique Hair and Nail Salon on Baillou Hill Road, said she fears she will lose clients due to the frequent outages.

“I go by appointments, so if I’m not finished by a certain time, my next client won’t be able to get done. They’re pushing me back and some clients can’t wait,” she said.

The single mother said her salon was without power from around 11 a.m. until after 2:30 p.m.

“Losing clientele, I have a child I have to feed; so I need to work,” she said.

“When BPL plays around with my money, it’s a problem.”

BPL Chairman Dr. Donovan Moxey said last week that while the installation of rental generation will provide some relief from the continuous outages, load shedding could be possible until a new power plant is installed at Clifton Pier later this year.

Rolle said she isn’t sure her business will survive the summer without a generator.

“I need a generator if they plan on doing this for the rest of the summer because I’ll be losing my clientele,” she said.

“I wasn’t [financially] prepared to buy a whole generator, and it seems like that’s what’s going to have to happen.”

She added, “My thing is with BPL, they want to be cutting off lights straight through and charge people high prices.”

Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis yesterday said this was not an issue under the previous administration, and said electricity was more reliable and more affordable.

He said that, had the PLP’s plan for the company been continued, electricity would have been even cheaper by now.

He criticized the Minnis administration’s handling of the matter.

“There was a plan in place,” he said.

“They came with no plan, and now they’re just…reacting to the challenges that they have.”

Dawn Sands, owner of NRG, a smoothie cafe on West Bay Street, said the power outages have been difficult for her business to cope with.

“This is affecting my business tremendously,” she said.

“When the lights are out, we have no ability to serve our customers.

“So every person that walks in here, we’re losing an average of $20 per person.

“While the lights were off just now we lost $60.

“Three persons came in within less than 30 minutes.

“…So every time this happens we lose about $20 per person.”

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

Last September, several fires caused extensive damage to the Clifton Pier Power Station.

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

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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