Categorized | National News

Two Men Blamed For Island-wide Blackout

Two men accused of causing an island-wide blackout early Wednesday morning have been hospitalised with severe burns to their hands and feet.

According to Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) Public Relations and Corporate Programmes Officer Arnette Ingraham, the men, who are employed by a private company, triggered the island-wide power outage while they tried to complete work near an overhead power line on Prince Charles Drive.

“There were two men who were employed by a private company who were working on a sign for Burger King on Prince Charles Drive. During their work an aluminum ladder came in contact with BEC’s 33 kv overhead lines. As a result both men were injured and rushed to hospital,” Mrs. Ingraham said.

She explained that when the aluminum ladder struck the power lines, it created a devastating domino effect, which led to the island-wide blackout.

“When the ladder came into contact with the power line, a protective relay that would have isolated the fault malfunctioned this caused the entire system to trip offline. When that occurred, both generator units at the Blue Hills and Clifton Pier power stations tripped offline, which left the entire island without electricity,” Mrs. Ingraham said.

“There is no information available at the moment that would indicate exactly why the relays did not kick in, but we intend to launch an investigation into exactly why they didn’t and expect to release that information to the public in short order.”

In a press statement issued late Wednesday afternoon, BEC confirmed that electricity had been restored to all areas in New Providence by 1:00 p.m.

While the corporation’s technicians managed to get their systems up and running by 1:00 p.m., the BEC statement noted that a localised area fell off the power grid again two hours later.

Late Wednesday afternoon BEC experienced a partial outage impacting some customers in the western area of the island.

“Already, the majority of customers affected by this late afternoon outage have had their supply restored. BEC expects those few remaining customers, currently without supply, to have their electricity restored shortly,” the statement said.

While the summer months have sometimes become synonymous with power outages, Mrs. Ingraham assured that the approaching summer months would not be as agonising as those experienced in the past.

“We expect that this summer will be vastly different than last summer. We’ve brought in a number of standby units and a lot of our units have undergone maintenance. So we do not expect to see the widespread outages that we experienced in summer 2011,” Mrs. Ingraham said.

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