By RIEL MAJOR
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE frequent power cuts carried out by Bahamas Power and Light have negatively impacted the home rental business, according to Tourism and Aviation Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar.
Speaking to reporters outside of Cabinet yesterday, Mr D’Aguilar said load shedding is “vexing” and a number of businesses are being impacted.
He said: “I think probably in the part of the tourism sector (that) is being most impacted is probably the Airbnb, home rental businesses. I’m sure a number of homes don’t have back up power so those foreign visitors that have decided to use the Airbnb route probably have been impacted by that.
“The larger hotels, the larger properties and the larger restaurants generally have back up power, so the impact has been less significant there. I think the larger properties, most significant businesses…generally have back up power but it a very vexing issue.”
On Sunday, BPL CEO Whitney Heastie said the company sits “on the edge every day” and cannot guarantee there will be no further electricity cuts or when the nightmare will end.
He said while BPL’s peak demand is 250 megawatts, there is only a total of 210mw available, creating a 40mw shortfall and “no wiggle room”.
Crippled by a decaying generation fleet, parts that can no longer be procured and manufacturers that have not responded to BPL’s requests for help, the situation is grim. Mr Heastie said this level of system failure now being experienced is one that could not have been anticipated.
Consumers have called for clear answers as to when the load shedding situation will improve and have questioned what the company will do to soften the blow of lives often disrupted by electricity cuts. However, Mr Heastie said BPL cannot afford any form of compensation, while apologising for the utility provider’s failure to give uninterrupted service.
BPL began regular load shedding in mid-June.