Heastie: We cannot guarantee load shedding will not take place

Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) is “sitting on the edge”, according to BPL CEO Whitney Heastie, who admitted today that the electricity company could offer no guarantees that load shedding would not continue.

Heastie said the company has “no wiggle room or spare capacity”.

BPL officials said the company requires 250 megawatts of power generation in order to end load shedding, however, it is currently generating 210 megawatts of power.

Heastie said three generators are currently down at the Blue Hills power plant. Only two of the generators are expected to be repaired within the next two weeks.

“We cannot predict that there will not be another failure that takes out another asset the way those three were taken out,” he said during a press conference at BPL’s Clifton power plant.

“We cannot guarantee load shedding will not take place because we are on the edge, we are on the cliff.

“Even when we get those two units back, there is no guarantee that we will not lose another asset.”

Asked again for a timeline on when load shedding would end, he reiterated, “We cannot guarantee that there would be no load shedding.”

Asked about compensation for consumers, Heastie said BPL only bills consumers for the energy they consume.

“We do understand that there is an inconvenience factor,” he continued.

“We are all experiencing that… but let’s be clear, BPL is in the hole every month. I think people need to understand that.

“I think what people have been asking BPL to do is to forgive payments on bills.”

He said BPL’s monthly expenditure exceeds $40 million.

On average, $30 million is spent on fuel, $8 million goes to operating expenses and $2 million is provided to pay interests on BPL’s loans, he added.

“There is no room for BPL to not insist that its customers pay.  The lack of funds in BPL is how we got to where we are today,” Heastie said.

Communities on New Providence have been rocked with hours-long periods of blackouts as part of BPL’s load shedding exercise due to its inability to meet consumer demand.

Over the last week, BPL has conducted nearly four-hour-long load shedding exercises.

According to BPL officials, the installation of a new plant at the Clifton Pier site will signal the end of the ongoing issues.

However, that plant, which was initially expected to be complete by September, is now estimated to be complete in December.

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Krystel Brown

Krystel covers breaking news for The Nassau Guardian. Krystel also manages The Guardian’s social media pages. She joined The Nassau Guardian in 2007 as a staff reporter, covering national news. She was promoted to online editor in May 2017. Education: Benedict College, BA in Mass Communications

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