Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) is a catastrophe, Bahamas Electrical Workers Union (BEWU) President Paul Maynard said yesterday, noting that only prayers will end load shedding before December.
“This has gone beyond a crisis. This is a catastrophe,” Maynard said, referring to the months long load shedding affecting residents on New Providence.
He added, “The real problem is they should not have gone to Wartsila in the first place. They should have gone to Shell and let Shell deal with this problem, and we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now.”
BPL announced in March that Finnish technology group Wartsila will install a 132-megawatt engine power plant at Clifton Pier at a cost of $95 million to increase the generation capacity on New Providence.
The new plant is expected to be online by October. However, Maynard said he believes it will take longer than that.
“Listen, the most you could do is go to church every Sunday or go to prayer meeting and pray that we have a mild November, because believe me, if we have a hot November we going to be load shedding until December,” he said.
He added, “They making noise telling you all about we are going to have those new units by October or November. Please, if they come in by December, they good.
“…My opinion is unless God comes out of heaven and puts them together, and you know that isn’t going to happen, you will hope to see them in March.”
Last year, the government announced a deal with Shell North America to operate a new liquified natural gas (LNG) plant at Clifton.
“The prime minister is a doctor,” Maynard said.
“The minister of works is a lawyer. I don’t get political as you know. If the power go off they couldn’t find their light switch.”
Maynard claimed that the government provides only what BPL CEO Whitney Heastie tells them is needed.
“What they need to get is an independent analyst,” he said.
He added, “Meanwhile, the board sitting up there, you know they going home in their Jaguars and their fancy, expensive cars…and they aren’t checking for the staff. I ain’t the one. I am not the one to mess with.”
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 weekend, BPL 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.