Bannister: BPL must hold people responsible for outages

Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister suggested yesterday that certain people were responsible for recent power outages on New Providence, and said they must be held responsible.

Over the past week, there have been a number of widespread outages on New Providence, some lasting hours. At least one was island-wide.

Asked yesterday if residents should be concerned about continued outages throughout the summer, Bannister said load shedding was not the issue.

“I have specific concerns,” he told reporters outside Cabinet.

“They are not load shedding incidents. [Bahamas Power and Light] BPL is going to have to hold the persons who caused them responsible.”

Asked whether he was referring to a company or perhaps employees, Bannister said:  “Where persons have caused them, BPL is going to have to hold them responsible.”

In a statement addressing Thursday’s island-wide outage, Wärtsilä, the company that manufactured and installed the seven new engines at BPL’s Clifton Pier power plant, said an “operational glitch” caused an outage.

“At around 2:30 a.m. on May 20, an operational glitch at the Clifton Pier Station A resulted in generating units going offline,” it said.

“This event triggered an island-wide outage on New Providence.

“Wärtsilä together with BPL personnel worked swiftly to remedy the situation. Power was restored to the first group of customers at 3:15 a.m. and by 6:30 a.m., power was restored to approximately 95 percent of the customer base on New Providence. 

“We sincerely apologize for any inconveniences caused as a result of this outage.

“Although this kind of occurrence is rare, be assured that Wärtsilä is already in the process of investigating this matter to determine the root cause of the failure with the goal of making sure that there would not be a re-occurrence.”

New Providence customers have been plagued by power cuts for years, with BPL having often struggled to meet load demands, especially during the summer months.

BPL’s recent efforts to bolster its generation capacity on the island were expected to solve that issue.

However, in recent weeks, outages on the island have been fairly frequent.

Earlier this month, Bannister said recent power cuts were the result of issues BPL was experiencing with fuel for its engines.

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Rachel Scott

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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