Aggreko unit damaged during fire at BPL’s Blue Hills plant

Another fire struck Bahamas Power and Light’s (BPL) Blue Hills Power Station on Friday evening, the company’s Public Relations Director Quincy Parker confirmed on Saturday.

However, he said that as the fire only affected an Aggreko generator rental unit, it did not disrupt any customer’s power supply.

“Bahamas Power and Light Company Ltd. (BPL) reports that there was a fire on Friday evening involving an Aggreko rental unit at the Blue Hills Power Station,” Parker said in a statement.

“Only a single unit was involved in the fire and the incident had no effect on the load to the grid, therefore no customers were affected.

“The unit was part of a bank of 25MW of rental units maintained and operated by Aggreko personnel and the fire was quickly brought under control and then extinguished.”

As he noted that the fire was isolated at the Aggreko site, Parker added that “the incident posed no significant threat to BPL’s generation assets”.

Earlier Friday morning, some residents on New Providence were reminded of last summer’s torturous rolling blackouts as several areas throughout the island experienced power failures, which BPL attributed to “technical difficulties”.

Fires at BPL’s Blue Hills and Clifton Pier power plants have been a cause for concern, particularly following a September 2018 fire which damaged two of its major generators at Clifton.

The report on the fire, obtained by The Nassau Guardian, concluded that the fire was a result of operator error; noting that either BPL’s attempt to troubleshoot an engine it had brought online, contrary to the manufacturer’s established protocol, or manipulation of a critical engine component during maintenance, caused the fire.

There was also a fire last September at the Aggreko site at the Blue Hills Power Station, which Parker at the time said “resulted in the loss of a one megawatt (MW) Aggreko generator”.

BPL said investigations were underway, however, that report has not been made public.

Aggreko has provided rental generation to BPL for years.

Just last summer, the company provided rental generation of 25 megawatts to BPL in an effort to combat anticipated load shedding.

BPL Executive Chairman Patrick Rollins said that it would be the last time BPL required rental units, however, BPL recently issued a request for proposals (RFP) for 25-40 megawatts of rental generation over a period of one year.

The move had led to speculation from some industry professionals that it may be an attempt to end the longstanding relationship with Aggreko, with former Bahamas Electrical Workers Union (BEWU) President Paul Maynard urging BPL to “get rid” of the company.

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