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BPL in “good position” for summer

Local May 15, 2020 at 3:32 am Royston Jones Jr.

Power provider’s CEO says transmission and distribution remains “vulnerable”, and will be impacted

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Bahamas Power and Light (CEO) Whitney Heastie said the power company is prepared for peak summer demand, while insisting that yesterday’s island-wide power outage was not a reflection of load shedding, which plagued consumers last year.

In a statement, BPL said the CEO for consumer to be “confident that the national utility is in a good position to take on the higher temperatures of the summer months”.

According to Heastie, BPL continues to see the benefits of improvements made in recent times.

The power company has installed new generation at the Clifton Pier Power Station, and brought on an additional 35 megawatts of power via the seven new Wartsila units.

Heastie said the power company has also returned some of the units that were out of the system and under maintenance — an effort that has “bolstered availability even more”.

The demand during the summer stands at around 260 megawatts.

While Heastie did not detail BPL’s capacity, the power provider was expected to over 300 megawatts available.

“BPL continues its steady improvement,” the CEO said.

“We started by firming up our generation fleet. We all know the state of disrepair the fleet was in and we all accept that things could not have been allowed to persist in that way. So we acted, starting with generation.”

Notwithstanding the named improvements, Heastie acknowledged there was work to be done on BPL’s transmission and distribution network, which remains “vulnerable”.

“Overhead lines, poles, transformers; during extreme conditions, they will get impacted,” he said.

“There are going to be parts of the island that are affected, but we want to make it clear that this May 12 outage was not a generation supply issue, and that we are working steadily to harden the T&D (transmission and distribution) system as we are able.”

Heastie added: “We spent a significant sum of money on upgrading our generation fleet. The hardening of our T&D infrastructure requires the same type of financial injection. This is one of the major reasons the Rate Reduction Bond is such a vital part of our long-term strategy.”

Thousands of consumers on New Providence were left powerless for hours on Tuesday.

“First, generation was not the cause of this event,” Heastie said.

“This was not load shedding.”

Some residents, particularly those in western New Providence, were without power for eight hours.

BPL said the outage was triggered by an electrical fault at a substation during an attempt to tie in a new substation near Gladstone and Fire Trail Roads.

According to BPL, in order to complete the tie-in work on Tuesday, it was necessary to isolate the circuit at the Skyline substation that feeds the old Gladstone Road substation before tying in the new substation.

During the attempt to complete the isolation, the electrical fault at the Skyline substation occurred and triggered the outage.

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