Maynard: Pray for a cool Christmas or expect more load shedding

The Bahamas needs to pray for “a very cool Christmas” to ensure there is no load shedding during the holidays, Bahamas Electrical Workers Union (BEWU) President Paul Maynard said.

He said it is likely load shedding will continue over the next few weeks.

“Hopefully, God gives us a very cool Christmas so we don’t have nothing to worry about,” Maynard told The Nassau Guardian.

“Now, if the almighty gives us a hot Christmas, well you know if the plant goes out on Christmas Day, then you’re load shedding Christmas Day. It is what it is.”

He continued, “[I] told you if you have a hot November what was going to happen. If you have a hot December, the same thing. The problem is there’s nothing we can do. It’s ancient equipment.”

BPL Director of Public Relations Quincy Parker declined to comment when reached yesterday.

Since early June, BPL has been load shedding across New Providence due to a generation shortfall.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis has called the situation a “crisis”, although he has clarified that it is not an energy crisis, but rather a crisis for the people forced to deal with the outages.

In August, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest declared that the government will spare no finances to find a short-term solution to the now months-long load shedding exercise that is plaguing residents on New Providence.

The following month, Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister told The Guardian that Cabinet had approved the purchase of a 30-megawatt general electric engine to assist with the power generation issues.

Speaking about the ongoing generation challenges, Maynard said, “We are working feverishly to get all our units back. Most of them are back.

“The problem is we’re sailing so close to the wind that when one unit goes down, it causes us to load shed until that unit gets back.”

Earlier this year, it was announced that Finnish technology group Wartsila will install a new 132-megawatt engine power plant at a cost of $95 million to increase the generation capacity on New Providence.

BPL officials have maintained that the new plant will be completed by December 15.

However, the union president shot that down.

“Even when the Wartsila plant comes up, they have to go through a series of testing and testing stuff on the system,” he said.

Maynard added, “Listen, I’ve said let’s not get our hopes up. If they get it, they get it but let’s look at March.”

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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