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Davis: No holistic approach to BPL’s woes

Saying that he was a “victim” of Monday night’s power outage, Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis continued to rail against the “incompetence” of Bahamas Power and Light (BPL).

“Again, sad to say that I speak and I continue to raise alarm over the incompetence of persons at BPL to be able to deliver safe, reliable and affordable power to this country,” Davis commented yesterday.

Following a turbulent summer of load shedding which caused frustration across New Providence, on Sunday BPL announced that the long-awaited $95 million 130-megawatt Wartsila plant at the Clifton Pier Power Station is officially online.

BPL officials said the plant would lead to more reliable electricity supply and lower fuel charges on customers’ monthly bills.

After 6 p.m. Monday, BPL issued a notice advising that power was out in North Westridge, South Westridge, Sandyport, Delaporte and Theodore Lane (west) “due to technical difficulties”.

Davis said that his electricity was off when he arrived home around 9 p.m., and that between then and 12 a.m. the power supply remained intermittent, cutting on and off at least three times in that time span.

He claimed that when he awoke at 1 a.m., his generator was still running, meaning that the electricity would have still been off at that time.

“So what has happened to this installation?” Davis demanded yesterday.

“What has happened to these Wartsila [engines]?

“Again, the challenge that they have is that they are, it’s all extremely knee-jerky on their part because [the engines are] one thing; there are other components [that are] required to be addressed to be able to deliver affordable and reliable electricity.”

He added, “I think it tells that somebody’s not listening or does not understand the business of providing electricity. It requires three effective components: you have to have the generation, you have to have reliable transmission and you have to have distribution.

“And it [doesn’t] appear that they’ve addressed any of those apart from generation.

“And so you go spend all this money and now the question is whether the state of the other components will have such a consequential impact on the generation that at the end of the day you’re causing more harm to the individuals than good to the consumer.”

The opposition leader elaborated: “So for example, the engines that were installed, and apparently that came online, that’s generation.

“But the generation would only be as efficient as the other components are, and infrastructure, to deliver power.

“So [there are] issues with transmission. [There are] issues with the distribution so those aspects of that also have to be addressed.

“And you’re not hearing from them, anything about that aspect of it.”

Davis asserted that unless those other components are addressed, BPL would “continue to have the same problems at the end of the day”.

Late last month, the Rate Reduction Bond Bill, 2019 was passed in the House of Assembly. It is expected to help BPL refinance its $321 million legacy debt and fund upgrades, along with other projects.

Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister said the bond will result in an average of a $20 to $30 monthly increase to household bills for a 10-month period, and that it will be “wiped out” in 2021.

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