Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) has already spent over $1.6 million in efforts to provide power to Abaco in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, Minister of Works Desmond Bannister said yesterday.
His comments came during his contribution to debate on the Disaster Preparedness and Response (Amendment) Bill, 2019.
While electricity on South Abaco has been restored, BPL teams are working to restore the rest of the island and cays but are facing challenges due to the devastation of Marsh Harbour.
“The challenges that are attendant in restoring power on Abaco relate to the complete destruction of the infrastructure in Marsh Harbour, which utilized most of the power load from Wilson City,” Bannister said.
“Today, Abaco is on its way back. BPL, along with members of CARILEC (Caribbean Electric Utility Services Corporation), are working together to quickly rebuild Abaco’s infrastructure and restore power in micro-grid fashion until BPL is capable of rebuilding its entire network. To date BPL has spent just over $1.6 million in equipment and materials.”
He added, “BPL, having completed the work in South Abaco, turned [its] attention to concentrating on the main transmission line, from Wilson City to Marsh Harbour. To date, teams are almost at the Marsh Harbour power station which serves as the hub of power distribution throughout Abaco and the cays.”
Bannister said BPL is hoping to have power in North Abaco in the beginning of November.
“It is anticipated that infrastructural repairs will take two weeks after which power can be restored,” he said.
“BPL is currently targeting having the north repowered by Sunday, November 3, 2019.”
Of the cays, Bannister said Moore’s Island and Walkers Cay have been restored. Walkers Cay has 75 percent restoration and is expected to have full restoration by the end of this week.
He said BPL’s assessments of Green Turtle Cay and Man-O-War Cay have been completed. He said power could be restored to Green Turtle Cay by mid-November.
“BPL has assembled materials and will mobilize this Friday with all material to the island,” he said.
“BPL’s team will be facilitated with a seven man crew from Caribbean Utilities Company in the Cayman Islands, which will arrive in The Bahamas on Friday to offer their assistance.”
He said the power company is still in talks with local committees on Man-O-War Cay and Elbow Cay on the best way forward for restoration on both cays.
“BPL has been in communication with the Disaster Relief Committee, a local committee formed to restore Man-O-War Cay,” he said.
“Their desire is to have 100 percent of their services placed underground. BPL has organized follow-up meetings with the committee this coming week to see their proposal. BPL has teams standing by and is prepared to mobilize as soon as it is determined how the Disaster Relief Committee wishes to proceed.
“[On] Elbow Cay, BPL is engaged in discussions with a committee that represents the interests of the Elbow Cay residents. Those talks will continue with a view of coming to the best decisions for restoring power on Elbow Cay as soon as possible.”
Bannister said that for the restoration of power on Abaco, “whenever possible, renewable solutions will be considered”.