Union president defends BPL workers on delayed power restoration

Thousands of Bahamians remained without electricity for more than 24 hours in some instances following the relatively mild impact of Hurricane Isaias on Friday, but Bahamas Electrical Workers Union (BEWU) President Kyle Wilson yesterday defended Bahamas Power and Light’s (BPL) line staff, maintaining that slow power restoration was not the fault of workers.

As the Category 1 hurricane approached the island on Friday, BPL executed controlled shutdown measures at its various substations.

By Saturday evening, some customers began having their power restored, however many remained without power into Sunday.

“I can assure you, from a line staff standpoint, we’re taking the heat for someone else because our workers go out there and we do a yeoman’s job. These guys are putting in almost, like, 24-hour days and don’t forget, we are customers too, so we are affected. We have family members, we have friends and they’re calling on us to get this power on,” Wilson said in an interview with Guardian Business yesterday.

“It’s really busy. I understand the frustration of the consumers. It wasn’t that powerful of a storm you know, so I understand how the people feel in that regard. But from the workers’ standpoint, from Abaco down to Inagua, I’m proud of the members for the great job that they’re doing.”

BPL announced yesterday that it has created a mobile-enabled web app, based on the industry-standard ESRI GIS platform, to assist in identifying small pockets and individual customers still impacted by the effects of Hurricane Isaias.

“Though in its beta phase, this tool will allow customers to provide basic location and problem information that will be immediately available to the BPL command center,” BPL stated in a release.

“This information will then be used to optimize the deployment of service teams to address these problems. Other teams will continue to tackle larger areas that have already been reported. It is anticipated that this tool, along with its future upgrades, will help BPL with its goal of building for better.”

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