On Monday, the executive chairman of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC), Leslie Miller, indicated that the BEC is in crisis mode and faces a worsening situation as the encounter of an urgent action on energy reform is absent. Miller’s latest statement came in a time of deprivation when at around 11:30 a.m. one of the corporation’s 26.5 megawatt engines at the Clifton Pier Power Station failed, leaving thousands of customers in New Providence without power for hours.
“It would be good if the government could make a decision on the way forward so that we could ease the burden off the backs of the Bahamian people,” Miller said. “I think it is clear now to everyone what needs to be done.”
As many engineers attempt to diagnose the problem and get the engine back on its regular route, businesses and residents hundreds of motorists are impacted as even hundreds of motorists are forced to navigate the busy roads without the assistance of traffic lights. Miller however said that load shedding would continue until early next week.
With another engine at its Blue Hills Power Station still out of commission since a fire that triggered a “catastrophic failure” and caused an island-wide outage last month, he says that the failing of this generator puts BEC in “bad shape”. He added that while this outage had not affected customers island-wide, it was extensive.
According to www.energycustomerservice.co.uk, customers like the Public Hospital Authority’s Princess Margaret Hospital was said to have had little interruption, but was powered by it’s generators. At around 6 p.m. on the day the outage occurred managing director of PHA, Herbert Brown, said, “our generators have sufficient fuel to last for a couple of days. Our telephone lines were interrupted as the power switched from city to generators, but that was it.”
Other entities affected included the Atlantis Resort and Casino spilleautomater, who also shared a similar comment, confirming that the hotel was operating on its generators.
Miller was also able to share that BEC has been load shedding because of a generation shortfall as the power demand is 206 megawatts of power and the company has been generating around 174 megawatts since the engine fail.
“What you do is share the load,” Miller said around noon. “In other words, you would have areas off for an hour or so, and then switch to another area. I could not tell you off the bat, but there are many areas that are off now.”
It was also confirmed by Miller that BEC signed an $8 million contract with Aggreko to provide an additional 40 megawatts of power over the next nine months. The full complement of the generators from Aggreko will however not come in full effect as it could take more than a month to receive.
“I understand that around five to 10 megawatts is coming in this week,” Miller said. “And then in the next 30 to 45 days the remainder will be here. We are going to be on the borderline because, out of that 40 megawatts, Baha Mar is going to take 16. So, it leaves New Providence with an [additional] 29 megawatts. But if one of those big engines goes down…we will be on the border line.