Frustrations and questions continue for Abaco residents as scheduled outages are followed by delayed restorations and other outages with little communication from Bahamas Power and Light (BPL).
On March 1 and again on March 12 BPL announced lengthy power outages for installations and repairs of different items, giving fair warning to consumers in the areas affected; however, the most recent outage lasted more than double the expected time and did not come with updates to advise consumers of the delays.
Scattered in between there have been a number of shorter outages linked to accidents and other minor malfunctions, including another island-wide outage on March 13.
Despite their stating that they are committed to communicating better with the public the results have been scant and the answers that have been given are vague.
Their latest press release continues to offer nebulous answers on the issues and promises of reliability.
The press release states:
“As of 11:51 am Tuesday, March 13, 2018 Bahamas Power & Light (BPL) Wilson City power station went down causing an island wide outage. The outage is being investigated; once the problem has been identified, BPL crew will be dispatched to immediately correction this problem in the most expeditious manner.
“The BPL executive team and line staff are working overtime to restore power to the entire island and while we are making significant progress in our restoration efforts, to make Wilson City a reliable power station.”
Concerning the March 1 outage BPL explained that it was for the installation of additional generation at the Marsh Harbour Power Plant (the old power station on S.C. Bootle Hwy).
When asked for more details on the installation of additional generation, in the light of having more than sufficient generation at the Wilson City Power Station, the question was bypassed with a note that it was not just additional generation, but that it was various parts, wiring and rewiring, replacing them with the proper system.
We have no official information on how much additional generation was added to the Old Power Station, nor do we know why generation at this location was bolstered.
Another scheduled power outage for the purpose of overhead line maintenance and construction on March 11 was expected to last from Midnight until 5am; however, for the many affected, power was not restored until some six hours later, around 1:15pm on March 12.
No update or explanation was given via their Facebook page or website.
While acknowledging the most recent (as of this issue’s deadline) power outage, the lack of actual information, the lack of consistent updates during prolonged outages; the lack of anything that can help residents make sense of the present issues and possibly quell fears of a nightmare summer season is frustrating to businesses and residents throughout Abaco.
A property manager on Elbow Cay quipped that “if this is what it’s like in the winter, we are not going to survive the summer.”
He said, “we are close to full, about 90 percent occupied by visitors, but luckily, for the many that don’t have generators where they are staying, the evenings are cool. They (visitors) won’t be as tolerant in the summer.”
Recently hired CEO of BPL, Whitney Heastie, during a town meeting in the midst of a five-day power outage in February, assured the public of, among other things, better communication.
He assured that there is a plan to work towards a more reliable summer, and that they are working diligently to ensure Abaco does not have to deal with the economically devastating outages experienced almost every summer.
However, jaded residents continue to express a lack of confidence in BPL and amidst a lack of information they don’t know how to adequately plan in order to mitigate losses and discomfort.