BPL CEO and CHAIR on state of generation in New Providence
Aug 12, 2019 - 2:45:28 PM
CEO Press Statement on Generation
Good Afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press
First we wish to recognize that there exists a perception that our performance as it relates to communication has been not been what it should be. That is one aspect of the current situation that we must take 100 percent responsibility for.
However, while we may not have communicated the reality of the situation well, communication is not what got us to where we are.
To a large extent the complexities that led us to where we are have also contributed to our inability to both relieve our consumers and communicate definitive answers as they relate to load shedding.
We will attempt to give more clarity this afternoon.
Secondly, we do not intend to assign blame as that is now irrelevant. The blame game does not offer relief nor does it lend to solving the problems we are faced with. It is important however to come to grips with how we got to where we are.
It must be noted that the Board appointed in 2017 and this current Board have had a collective stint of just over 24 months. Those two Boards met the following set of circumstances in place:
• A decaying generation fleet, with equipment up to 60 years old.
• A generation fleet where parts could no longer be procured or could only be procured exclusively from manufacturers that have not been very responsive to our requests for help.
• A generation fleet where preventative maintenance was not the order of the day.
• A generation fleet that relied on costly fuel.
A generation fleet that, if action were not taken quickly, could in fact lead us to where we are today or worse.
Neither the time frame between those two boards, nor the circumstances that may have led to the change in Boards, had an impact on that history.
We had hoped that with the help of the additional rental units from Aggreko, we would be in a position to prevent load shedding for the summer. While we were certainly cognizant of the tightrope we were walking, due to the pressure being placed on the remaining plant, we did not anticipate this level of systems failure and even if we had, we would not have had the resources to mitigate the situation as this level of accelerated decay could not be anticipated.
So here is where we are:
Our peak demand is 250MW.We have a total of 210MW available today, which includes the following:
• 105 MW in Aggreko rental capacity,
• 35 MW at Clifton Pier, and
• 70 MW from Blue Hills.
This equates to 210MW or 40MW short of what is required, hence the load shedding. We are working feverishly on returning two generators at Blue Hill Power Station that will make up this 40MW difference. However, we cannot guarantee that other units will not fail and return us to load shedding as we have no excess capacity. As we get deeper into the Fall, the demand will drop off as will the need for load shedding.
It is important to understand that BPL employees have been extremely supportive and working diligently during this entire ordeal. It would have been equally appreciated if the same level of support was received from engine manufacturers who have not been so responsive to our repeated requests for help.
We are extremely aware that our consumers’ patience has long run out and that confidence in what we are telling you is low. But it is the truth.
It is an ugly truth that the inheritors of the truth must tell and that no amount of editorials, political bombast, and armchair quarterbacking can change.
While our existing generation fleet has been in decay, load in New Providence has consistently grown with many new mega complexes. We are building a new 132MW plant, as seen today, but regretfully the acceleration of the decay has created a gap and resulted in the circumstances we are all experiencing.
The men and women at BPL are working tirelessly to reduce that gap, but only so much can be done with the existing infrastructure, where no parts are available and even the manufacturers have offered little to assist. A lot of mistakes were made in the past and we are now the ones that must carry the load. So be it.
We do not expect the inconvenienced public to be sympathetic. All we can do is work diligently to resolve the issue once and for all. We wish the public to be aware that every waking hour is being spent on ensuring that the plan for the long term solution is being adhered to, while at the same time we are attempting to reduce the pain that is being felt in the short term.
This team is confident that those that follow us – our consumers, the management and staff of BPL – will never have to endure that which we have had to endure for the past 40 plus years.
CHAIR Press Statement on Generation
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, good afternoon.
Board of Directors of Bahamas Power and Light Company Limited is
cognizant of the challenges faced by Bahamians due to prolonged load
shedding and lingering problems with power generation. We know the
problems it is causing for homes, and for businesses, for industry, and
for families. I want to again apologize to our customers and The
Bahamian people for not providing the level of service that should be
expected from a national electrical utility. We intend to do all we can
as quickly as possible to resolve the issues that inhibit our ability to
provide the quality of service all of our customers deserve.
Mr. Heastie focused on generation and other critical operational
issues, a different perspective on the challenges facing BPL is that as a
company, we have been disadvantaged by decades of nonalignment of
strategic vision for the company and the needs of our growing customer
base. As more housing developments were being constructed, more resorts
and other foreign direct investments were courted and constructed, as
the economy and the population has continued to grow, there should have
been concurrent investments in increasing generation capacity to
sufficient levels that would ensure the company’s ability to meet
growing demand and sufficient headroom to allow for redundancy. That
nonalignment is equally at play in our challenges, and perhaps more
significant than the current shortfall in generation, in our view.
facts are plain: decisions that would have obviated the problems we
face today were not made, and so we are here, challenged to fix these
problems once and for all. But as a board, we are committed to doing
exactly that, and not making excuses or placing blame.
mandate given to this board by the Government of The Bahamas is to fix
the issues that plague our national electricity company once and for
all. We are not here to kick the can down the road, or to implement
temporary or Band-Aid solutions. We are here to address the structural
problems facing BPL head on, and to stay focused until those problems
are resolved, and we can present The Bahamian people with an electrical
utility that delivers on its mandate to provide safe, reliable, and
affordable electricity to all its customers. The Board is providing
diligent oversight of a strategic plan that we believe will achieve this
Despite the reality we currently
face, we are not without optimism. We believe that our current strategic
plan with a phased approach for execution, will allow us to achieved
measured and objective improvements in our operations, address
challenges that have been plaguing the company for years, and the
successful completion of each phase of our plan will allow BPL to
re-build trust with our customers.
completion of the 132 Megawatt power plant at Station A before the end
of this year is the first phase of our Generation turnaround strategy.
This Station A power plant is intended to be incorporated into the power
generation facilities that will be developed and operated by Shell
North America. In fact, immediately after the fire in Station C that
consumed about 65MW of BPL’s generation assets, Shell North America was
directly involved in the selection of Wartsila to build this power plant
with the understanding that these engines would become part of the
larger 220MW generation facility that they will own and operate. Any
suggestion or assertion that Shell North America has not been involved
in this process is factually incorrect. The Station A power plant is
the largest single plant ever built in the history of the company, it
will allow us the ability to address some of the generation issues
mentioned earlier, as well as allow BPL to better prepare to serve its
customers in summer 2020 and beyond.
completion of a second Gas-To-Power Plant by Shell North America will
mark the completion of the second phase of our Generation turnaround
strategy, which will see another 90+ megawatts of high-efficiency,
low-emissions generation pumping power to the grid by mid-2021.
three of the turnaround for generation is the completion of the
Terminal Facility for LNG Regasification, which is expected to be fully
operational by December 2021. With the completion of this facility, the
Shell power plant as well as BPL’s remaining generation assets will have
access to LNG, and our customers will immediately see the benefits of a
cleaner, less expensive, and more environmentally sustainable fuel
source as the foundation of our energy supply in New Providence.
addition to traditional power generation facilities, we are excited
about our push into renewables. Over the next four years we will be
releasing renewable energy generation RFPs for New Providence and all
the Family Islands. The first of these RFPs have already been issued,
inviting qualified organizations to submit proposals as Independent
Power Producers (IPPs) to develop, finance, build, own, and operate a
solar PV and energy storage plants, or hybrid power plants on Bimini,
Andros, Eleuthera, and Inagua. BPL intends to leverage what we learn
from these initial projects to ensure that our implementation of
renewable energy is done in the most efficient and cost-effective
manner, with the ultimate goal of providing maximum benefits to our
Our strategic push into renewables
will have a marquis kickoff with work set to begin on implementing the
new solar energy solution on Ragged Island. As we are all aware the
Government of the Bahamas made a commitment to make Ragged Island a
green island, and BPL is doing its part in making this happen. Our team
visited Ragged Island this past Friday to view sites for the new solar
plant installation on that island. We are excited about this first solar
and battery storage solution implemented by BPL, which is paving the
way for the company in the renewables arena, particularly with regard to
solar generation. BPL intends to do everything we can to deliver solar
power to Ragged Island by December of 2019.
We have a plan
to fix BPL: we have laid out the broad strokes of the plan, and we
encourage our consumers to hold us accountable. This is our commitment
to The Bahamian people, and we will stand by it.
would like to say clearly: we, the Board of Directors, have absolute
confidence in the executive team led by Mr. Whitney Heastie to get the
job done. We support Mr. Heastie’s operational plan, and we stand by his
team’s ability to bring that plan to fruition.
are committed, as a board, to provide strategic oversight of the
direction in which BPL is heading, and we are excited and open to
collaborate with all stakeholders on the new strategic direction for the
company. We firmly believe in this phased approach to resolving our
Generation challenges once and for all.
we are discussing how we plan to resolve our generation issues, however
our strategic plan is broader than generation alone; it also addresses
stabilizing our finances, upgrading our neglected Transmission and
Distribution network, significantly improving the quality of our
customer service, building additional capacity within our workforce via
structured training and certification programs, and above all keeping
safety as our first priority both in the workplace and in the services
we deliver to our customers. We strongly believe that successful
execution of our strategic plan will allow BPL to provide reliable, cost
effective electricity that will be viewed as a game-changer with
respect to its long term positive effect on the growth and development
of the Bahamian economy.
So once again, as a
Board we have a mandate: fix the problems at BPL once and for all. We
are committed to doing this. We have confidence in the BPL team, and are
committed to doing all that we can to ensure that they have all the
resources required to execute this plan. We, the Board, will hold them
accountable for success, even as we are held accountable by our
stakeholders – the public who own this utility.
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