Bahamas Electrical Workers Union (BEWU) President Paul Maynard yesterday insisted that there are no engines at Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) that are 60 years old, despite BPL Chief Executive Officer Whitney Heastie claiming that equipment that age is hindering generation on New Providence.
In a press conference on Sunday, Heastie said that aging equipment, in some cases 60 years old, is partly to blame for the generation issues the company has been facing for the past several months.
“We have no engines in our arsenal that are 60 years old,” Maynard said.
BPL Director of Public Relations Quincy Parker said yesterday that while some of the engines at BPL were installed in the 1980s and 1990s, they were not new when they were installed, and two dated back to the 1960s.
However, Maynard said that is not the case.
“There’s only one engine and that’s GE number one. And that’s now gone, but that used to be a hospital backup generator, and that engine, BEC got that at a steal; less than $7 million, I think.
“….And the engine had less than 1,000 hours on it. Do you know what it is to get an engine with less than 1,000 hours on it? That was an absolute steal at the time. The problem with it is it was inefficient, but the point is it is no longer in use. It’s finished.”
Former BEC Executive Chairman Michael Moss also said he does not believe there are any generators that old at BPL.
“I don’t think that to be the case at all,” he said.
He added, “When I left my job at BEC, I’m not talking about chairmanship, I was chief generation engineer at BEC, units one, two, three, four and five had been installed in the 1970s. I do know that units one, two, three, four and five no longer exist.
“Those engines were installed brand new.”
He added, “Anything that’s on the ground now, it is a vintage after 1979.”
Maynard said that in some cases, a lack of timely maintenance has been the cause of the problems.
“I couldn’t believe he said that,” he said.
“Now, as for number 7, the problem is, they are having problems with the Japanese in that they are sticklers for maintenance, and when an engine is supposed to be maintained, it’s supposed to be maintained. They don’t want to hear it. They don’t care what you have going on – maintain the engines.”
He added, “And, so, that’s the problem with number seven. If it was maintained on time, it wouldn’t have a problem. It would still be running now, and that’s why the Japanese aren’t even answering their phone calls.”
Consumers across New Providence have faced weeks of continual load shedding, often lasting hours at a time. Heastie said on Sunday that he could not guarantee when the outages will end.