Monday’s massive power outage was not the result of The Bahamas Electricity Corporation’s (BEC) inability to meet the demand for electricity, Chairman Leslie Miller said yesterday as he broke his silence since the blackout which left thousands of customers in the dark.
Mr. Miller said that BEC has more than sufficient capacity to meet its peak demand for New Providence.
The chairman explained that the exact cause of Monday’s power outage is still under investigation but he did note that around 7:30 a.m. that day there was a fault on BEC’s network that caused the engines at Blue Hills to trip offline resulting in disruptions to the electricity supply to approximately 50 per cent of BEC’s customer base in New Providence and on Paradise Island.
“Efforts were made to restore supply to those affected customers within minutes of the outage; however, shortly after 11:00 a.m. there were further challenges with one of the larger units at Blue Hills, GT5, that caused another shutdown and loss of electricity supply,” Mr. Miller said.
“In the effort to return the units at Blue Hills to service, there were a number of unforeseen challenges throughout the day that prolonged the outages experienced by some of BEC’s customers. Primarily, GT5, TA11 AND GT9 were out of service for most of Monday.
“The end result was that there was insufficient capacity to meet demand on Monday evening. During the evening and night, customers across the island would have experienced periods of supply disruption.”
Mr. Miller further explained that by midnight Tuesday, TA11 and GT9 were both returned to service therefore, giving the corporation enough capacity to meet its demand and restore electricity supply to all impacted customers.
“Despite the challenges on Monday, we have been working extremely hard to keep the engines at our Clifton Pier and Blue Hills Power Stations up and running,” Mr. Miller said. “We’ve pumped millions of dollars into ensuring that Clifton Pier, which is our base load plant, is able to carry most of the load. I would like to reiterate that at no time were there any disruptions to the engines at that facility.”
The chairman insists that these latest power outages experienced in recent weeks are not the norm and are far removed from the past when customers experienced rolling blackouts and load shedding in the hot summer months.
However, he stressed that it will take hundreds of millions of dollars for BEC to carry out the upgrades it needs.
This latest blackout came just weeks after another island-wide power outage plunged New Providence residents into darkness for nearly 12 hours.