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Moxey: BPL not in crisis

Amid public outrage after weeks of power outages across New Providence, Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) Chairman Dr. Donovan Moxey yesterday insisted the power company is not in crisis.

There has been load shedding on the island for nearly two weeks and a complete blackout on July 2.

On June 26, Abaco also experienced an island-wide power cut.

Bimini experienced several hours of load shedding on June 24 and June 26.

However, Moxey told The Nassau Guardian, “I wouldn’t use the word ‘crisis.’”

He added, “It’s certainly an issue we need to address and address as quickly as possible.”

The chairman acknowledged that the company was experiencing “some challenges in getting generation going”.

“Again, it’s something that is unfortunate; it’s not something that we like because obviously it inconveniences our customers,” he said.

“What I would like the public to know is that we have members of the BPL staff, who I’d like to give kudos to, who have been working hard around the clock – generation teams, [transmission] and [distribution] teams – to make sure that we keep the power on.

“So, the public needs to understand that given our circumstances, we are doing everything we possibly can to keep the power on and we just ask for your understanding in the matter. We’re going to do everything we can to get every area in New Providence up and running and online.”

In September, fire damaged BPL’s generators at the Clifton Pier Power Plant.

The first fire erupted on September 7 around 10:30 p.m. and caused damage to station C, which houses two of the company’s largest generators, prompting BPL to load shed throughout New Providence.

Firefighters responded to three fires at the Clifton plant, in the same areas, just days apart.

Yesterday, Moxey said those fires prevented the company from executing a full maintenance of the engines during winter 2018.

“What we will do coming this winter is we will have the ability to go through a normal major overhaul maintenance mode on our engines, which we weren’t allowed to do this year because of the fire,” he said.

Last week, the chairman announced that 25 megawatts of rental generations, which cost approximately $2 million per month, would be installed by the end of that week.

On Sunday, BPL Director of Public Relations Quincy Parker said some of the generators had been installed and were pushing power to the grid.

While on OurTV’s “On the Record with Jerome Sawyer”, Moxey said that within another week the power company “should have sufficient generation available to satisfy our load”.

Asked by The Guardian if that meant a decrease in outages and load shedding, he said, “I’m not going to be able to commit to no more outages and load shedding. What I can say is with the three assets that are currently offline, once we bring them back online, we should be in an n minus one at minimum configuration.”

He continued, “[This] means that if we do have an issue with one of the engines that are operational, we should have a backup available to us. Now, if two engines go down, obviously we have some issues with load shedding.”

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.

Yesterday, Parker said the company hopes to release its load shedding schedule by “late next week”.

He said Moxey and Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson “had a conversation about the idea of releasing the load shedding schedule”.

“We’re working on a communications protocol that would say who is informed first before the load shedding schedule so that every opportunity is taken to make sure that the consumer is protected and safe,” Parker said.

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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