Home / Featured / Power Outage Spoils Independence Celebrations; Residents on Edge
On what was mostly a successful night of Independence Day festivities at BAIC Park in Marsh Harbour, and across Abaco, on the evening of July 9 and morning of July 10, an island-wide power outage disrupted celebrations. Coming on the heels of several weeks of blackouts, surges and sparse communication from the power company, the Independence Day blackout raised the ire of residents across the island. With the power cutting shortly after the fireworks display, many Abaconians faced hours of darkness and heat. Left: an officer raises the Bahamian Flag at BAIC Park to mark the nation’s 44th Independence.

Power Outage Spoils Independence Celebrations; Residents on Edge

Instead of culminating a grand evening of celebrating the country’s independence with fireworks and Junkanoo, Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) stepped in to steal the show as the Junkanoo group marched around the, now dark, BAIC Park.

With yet another power outage, which have become more frequent in recent weeks, the ire of residents continues to rise with some calling for town meetings and marches to demand answers and accountability for BPL.

The latest outage occurred just after midnight and was followed by off and on service for much of the day, and up until press time there were no official answers for what caused the outage.

During the outage it was observed that both power stations – Murphy Town and Wilson City – were in darkness and did not appear to have any generators running at around 1am on July 10. Power began to be restored about a half-hour later.

Residents took to social media to vent their frustration and demand answers to the frequent outages.

Recently elected Marsh Harbour/Spring City Town Committee Chairman Roscoe Thompson III said that he will be seeking to arrange a meeting with BPL Management, Water and Sewerage and government officials to get to get answers.

A reliable source claimed that, aside from a car accident Saturday morning which knocked down a transmission line, recent power outages were the result of lack of maintenance issues, with two engines at the Wilson City Power Station experiencing oil pressure issues and triggering engine shut downs. Additionally it was alleged that filters at the Marsh Harbour Station were possibly out of stock, leading to a shutdown of operations there.

Another source indicated that there are three foreign workers in Abaco to overhaul the engines, while there are Bahamians whose job and responsibility it is to do this work; however, they are not doing so for an unknown reason. They said that while there is more than enough man power available to do the work, they are not being properly utilized.

Meanwhile, despite requests for information, we have yet to learn of the official response concerning the latest outages.

Hope Town District Council Chief, Jeremy Sweeting said, “The power cuts that we have been faced with this summer is nothing new, but needless to say it is getting very old and beyond frustrating.”

“In 2017, there is no reason why we, in a country with the third highest GDP in the Western hemisphere, should be subjected to third world services,” he said.

He suggested that the service would only improve with privatization and accountability. He added that a possible short term solution which could possibly alleviate “the misery of outages” would be to have backup generators in each community, ensuring uninterrupted supply.

He added that “another major point if this were to be given consideration; these generators must be maintained – maintenance is a key component and unfortunately the lack of maintenance has been the continual downfall with government assets over the years.”

Mr. Sweeting called on all arms of government to hold a meeting, so that common ground can be found on how to address this issue that “simply will not go away until dynamic action is taken.”

 

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About Timothy Roberts

Timothy Roberts

Timothy had his first venture into Journalism just months after graduating from Queen’s College in Nassau taking his first job with The Tribune in 1991 leaving in 1992 for other pursuits.

During his time in Nassau he diversified his experiences working as a warehouse manager, locksmith and computer technician before returning to Abaco, a place he has always considered home, in 1999.

He joined the staff of The Abaconian in 2001 doing graphic design and writing an opinion article called Generally Speaking and after a brief time away, returned to The Abaconian in 2010 as a reporter, graphic designer and computer technician.

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