Bahamas Electrical Workers Union (BEWU) President Paul Maynard claimed yesterday that the completion of Bahamas Power and Light’s (BPL) new plant will not, on its own, solve the company’s reliability issues.
His comments came amid continued load shedding exercises across New Providence due to a generation shortfall.
While BPL brought in temporary rental generation to help with the shortfall, the company has touted a new 132-megawatt Wartsila plant, which is expected to be online by October, as a solution to the generation issues.
Maynard, however, said that the company will likely have to keep the rental units even after the plant is installed to prevent load shedding next year.
“On top of the 130 they have, we need another 140 to be out of the [woods],” he said.
“And also, you’ve got to deal with the T&D [transmission and distribution] system.”
BPL Director of Public Relations Quincy Parker said that BPL currently has about 230 megawatts of generation on New Providence. Of that, about 115 megawatts are rental units, 25 of which were brought on this summer as a temporary solution to the generation shortfalls.
Maynard has said on several occasions that the T&D system is antiquated and must be upgraded to provide greater power reliability. He said the generators BPL already owns must also be replaced with newer ones.
“We have ancient equipment,” he said.
“You’ve got to get rid of it all.”
Maynard added, “A lot of them have served their time. We’re just petting them along.
“Like an old car, once you see you have to do a lot of maintenance to it, you get rid of it. Get another.”
BPL has historically struggled to meet the increased demand for electricity on New Providence during the summer months.
Last September, several fires caused extensive damage to the Clifton Pier Power Station.
BPL announced in March that Finnish technology group Wartsila will install a new power plant at Clifton at a cost of $95 million to increase the generation capacity on New Providence.