The Bahamas Electricity Corporation held a town meeting on February 26 at the Anglican Parish Hall to publicly present their power expansion plans which include a submarine cable from the mainland of Abaco to an area near Baker’s Bay on Great Guana Cay.
Member of Parliament and Chairman of BEC’s Executive Board, Leslie Miller was present and fielded a number of questions concerning the project and also pleaded with Abaconians to change their mind on Heavy Fuel Oils (HFO) as he claimed it wo
uld make the cost of electricity cheaper.
BEC said an Environmental Management program (EMP) has been produced and they want the public to view it and tell BEC what they think of it. They said that they spoke with the district councils, then with Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) to see how it might impact the environment, the Port Department and now the general public.
Kevin Basden, Manager of BEC, said “the purpose is to improve reliability and capacity to Great Guana Cay and the other outer cays.”
He said that while BEC possesses the technical know-how to carry out the project, the people of Abaco know their island and environment, and so BEC is holding the forum to get feedback from the public.
The difference between this submarine cable and others BEC has done in the past is that they intend to bury the cable in the seabed in the hopes of preventing the regular damages that tend to occur to other cables connecting the cays.
Leslie Miller said BEC and the Bahamas government “is strongly committed to the Abacos.” He said that Abaco is the corporation’s largest distribution center outside of New Providence.
He said that BEC is looking to build on the capacity of the Wilson City Power Station and continue improving the reliability of supply to Abaco and the cays. “Too often there are damages due to the heavy boating traffic and what BEC is planning to do will improve the reliability of supply into Great Guana Cay and subsequently the other cays as well,” he said.
“The reality is that we must not be outpaced by the development in the cays, including the Baker’s Bay and other smaller developments.” Mr. Miller said that BEC intends to up its commitment to provide a safe a reliable supply of electricity in Abaco.
Aside from engaging several employees from BEC out of New Providence to assist in the laying of the cable, Mr. Miller noted that they would outsource some jobs locally including the services of a barge and several divers.
Mr. Miller asked Abaconians to be diligent in paying their bills, and noted that Abaco is no different than other places in The Bahamas as BEC suffers shortfalls in their accounts receivables.
He then urged Abaconians to reconsider the use of HFO to fuel the Wilson City plant saying that the change would result in large savings in the cost of fuel. He noted that the fuel used at Wilson City is 33 percent higher than in New Providence because of this.