Bpl: We’Ll Do Our Best This Summer


Tribune Staff Reporter


BAHAMAS Power & Light has more than enough generation capacity to ensure Bahamians have a summer free of load shedding, but officials cannot guarantee the utility provider’s aging equipment will hold up all the way through the demanding season.

During a press conference yesterday, BPL CEO Whitney Heastie told reporters the company is doing its best with a non-ideal situation.

“We have aging equipment,” he said. “I think everybody knows Shell North America has been awarded the consortium lead for the gas to power and we’re working really diligently until the new generation, which is a part of that gas to power equation, gets on the ground and we’re doing everything with the assets we have to make sure we carry them through the peak load of the summer.”

BPL’s business plan last year called for the retirement of some of its units, noting that unit control systems at the Clifton Pier and Blue Hills plants are becoming obsolete with spare parts harder to find. Budgetary constraints have prevented improvements to various units over the years. Shell is expected to construct a liquefied natural gas (LNG) power plant at Clifton by 2021 with the ability to produce up to 270mw of power.

Mr Heastie said efforts have nonetheless been made to shore up BPL’s generation capacity to handle the summer load.

“There’ll be no load shedding this summer given that fact that we have sufficient generation on the ground,” he said. “We have 450 megawatts (mw) of generation on the ground. Peak is the highest sustained load over a 15 minute period. The peak last year was about 257mw so we got more than 200mw of additional generation that we have on ground that we should be able to easily carry through. All the assets are not where they should be but we should have sufficient assets to carry us through this summer and we are getting better with it.”

Lightning caused an island-wide power outage on Monday. Mr Heastie said it took about four hours to restore power throughout New Providence, a length he finds “unacceptable.” Some isolated areas of New Providence were still said to be without power on Tuesday morning.

In the wake of the black-out, Bahamas Electrical Workers Union President Paul Maynard said the lack of a protection system that can quickly address electrical faults, combined with antiquated equipment, has rendered the utility provider unable to fend off system failures in a modern way.

Yesterday, Mr Heastie could not say how much is necessary to repair BPL’s protection system, saying the matter must be studied.

“There are systems designed to protect against lightning strikes,” he said. “The network or the grid is designed really to isolate faults depending on where the fault occurs and the magnitude of the fault. Because this fault was directly inside the power plant it had a magnitude that was very severe. If something was to happen further away from the plant, the plant has a faster time to react. The closer it is to the plant, the response of the protection systems has to be a whole lot faster.”

A foreign expert on system instability is expected to be in New Providence next week to begin assessing BPL’s issues.


ohdrap4 2 years, 1 month ago

they will do their best to keep us in darkness.


DDK 2 years, 1 month ago

Best is not good enough. With your high rates, exorbitant fuel surcharge, TWELVE% VAT, and expensive expert advice, think you had better KEEP IT ON or follow the honourable Westminster tradition!


Well_mudda_take_sic 2 years, 1 month ago

This is their way of telling us to expect many major power outages during the three hottest months of the year - July, August and September - especially now that the added power demands of Baha Mar must be met. We will literally be cooked by the sweltering heat we experience this summer during the many long power failures, due in large part to the gross incompetence of both Darnell Osbourne and Whitney Heastie. And while we are being cooked, not a peep will be heard from the dimwitted Doc!


OriginalBey 2 years, 1 month ago

For the love of Ella follow Grand Bahama's example. Each equipment has a specific lifespan. The first generation plant was nearing that so what did the company do? Build an entirely new generation plant at another site and transferred operations over to the new system. I worked there as a consultant for a few years and outside of the control shutdowns during hurricane season, I can only recall one time there was a power outage. A team did a press conference the following morning and apologized profusely and I swear gauging from the intensity on their faces I was confident 20 people were reprimanded for the deviation. BEC/BPL stews in mediocrity and poor service and it only took them 40 years to develop a communication strategy for which executives are expecting queen's honors in short order. No administration treats this as a priority and the continuous spin only drives residents to sigh and roll eyes. Build a completely new generation plant with all new equipment and upgrade the existing sites to serve as backup. Anything short of that and we will remain in this vicious cycle.



Greentea 2 years, 1 month ago

Where? Where else is suitable in New Providence?


concernedcitizen 2 years, 1 month ago

the deal has been signed w Shell north America to build another plant , its all there in the article ,an LNG plant ,,more effiecent and cleaner


Clamshell 2 years, 1 month ago

Does anybody understand how incredibly sad this sounds, in the Western Hemisphere, in the 21st century? We’ll “do our best” to create electricity?


Alex_Charles 2 years, 1 month ago

because we aren't a 'real country' yet.


TalRussell 2 years, 1 month ago

Ma Comrades, recalling that her Grandpa Milo's early enterprising days was as an Ice man's delivery merchant - I just emailed Loretta - asks her how long will block ice last in my Ice Box... got my new arrival restin' on floor near my Home baked Brownies wooden storage box.
{ Couldn't possibly make this stuff up }. I call it, smart preparation - just in case BPL is serious d returns we natives living likes Out Islanders.


John 2 years, 1 month ago

Five years under foreign management and all we get is a ‘We ger try do our best.’ And they say Bahamians are lousy and worthless and and don’t wanna work and tings like that. Who else feel hurt and betrayed?


OMG 2 years, 1 month ago

Total lack of investment when times were good. Politicians had the mentality of spend and borrow today ,screw tomorrow.. The total infastructure is old and needs replacing but all availablr monies havebbeen squandered.


ThisIsOurs 2 years, 1 month ago

These comments are funny lol. I read the headline and said, well, that's probably the most honest assessment they could have given, can't complain about that, then I read

"they will do their best to keep us in darkness." @ohdrap4 "best is not good enough" @ddk "letvatpayfordat" @originalbey

ROTFL. Hopefully the Summer's not too hot


OMG 2 years, 1 month ago

Living on a Family Island I was always told there are two certainties in life, DEATH and TAXES. However on a F. Island there are actually 5. DEATH, TAXES, NO WATER, ERRATIC ELECTRICITY and REGULAR CABLE BAHAMAS FAILURES.


sheeprunner12 2 years, 1 month ago

What about INTERNET????????? ............ No problems, hey?????


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