Categorized | National News

BEC Chairman Fears Oil Theft Widespread

Oil is being stolen from the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) all over the country, according to BEC Chairman Leslie Miller.

Mr. Miller, who was speaking to the Bahama Journal Sunday, said the widespread theft is only coming to light now because of the 70,000 gallon oil spill that occurred last week Tuesday.

Officials said BEC’s preliminary findings suggest that a check valve was tampered with and this contributed to the resulting fuel spill.

But so far 20,000 gallons were recovered.

“Right now all of the tanks are full and so we are in pretty good shape,” he said. “The one that the guys were tampering with had about 30,000 gallons of fuel in it so these guys were running their own fuel depot from BEC’s apparatus,” Mr. Miller said.

“Unfortunately, when BEC put up a new 200,000 gallon fuel tank, no one was smart enough to disconnect all the valves and take those valves from those old tanks so they left the valves onto the old tanks. So what the guy did was shut off the valve going to the new tank and filled up the old tanks which I guess belong to him now. This probably was going on for years. I am told that the new tank was put in place over two years ago. So I guess for those last two years, he was selling his own fuel.”

The BEC chairman said officials are making moves to ensure that a spill like this does not happen again.

“That line is being disconnected as we speak,” Mr. Miller said. “We have some security persons that are going there [Monday] to interview some of the persons that were involved like the persons who were there hooking up the lines to transport the fuel from the boats into our tanks. They will be interviewed and an intensive investigation will be carried out by the Royal Bahamas Police Force and we will try to get to the bottom of it.”

“That’s not only true in Eleuthera. It’s probably true for every island that BEC operates from. There is just too much slackness in the system that needs to be rectified. We have to put the necessary apparatus in place to enable us to save as much money as we can because unfortunately the attitude in many of our plants is that BEC belong to employees and not to the people of The Bahamas. I think that is a serious, serious problem.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Miller said BEC lost about $350,000 to $400,000 due to the oil spill.

He said it would take two weeks to a month to clean up the spill.

The chairman said this is something that BEC simply cannot afford.

“There were reports that our deficit was about $16 million. Well, it’s much higher than that now,” Mr. Miller said. “It’s going to be high.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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