FNM Leader Michael Pintard Demands Answers from BPL Minister regarding North Andros Power Plant Fire

Jul 21, 2023

The Free National Movement (FNM) leader, Michael Pintard, is demanding answers from Bahamas Power & Light (BPL) Minister Alfred Sears regarding the devastating fire that occurred at the BPL plant in Nicholls Town, Andros, resulting in a power outage throughout the entire North Andros constituency.

The early morning blaze, which ignited at the North Andros Power Plant, caused significant damage to four caterpillar diesel engines, leaving them fully engulfed in flames. As a result, residents of North Andros have been plunged into darkness, with no access to essential electricity services.

The FNM leader expresses deep concern over this incident and its detrimental impact on the daily lives of the residents and businesses. Pintard understands the urgency of the situation and acknowledges the immediate need for comprehensive answers from BPL Minister and CEO Shevonn Cambridge regarding the following:

What was the Cause of the Fire: The FNM leader calls for a thorough investigation into the cause of the fire at the BPL plant in Nicholls Town, Andros. It is crucial to determine the root cause to prevent similar incidents in the future and ensure the safety of the workers and residents. What were the recommendations made in the aftermath of fires in Bimini, Exuma and New Providence and were they applied in Andros and elsewhere?

Assessment of Damages: Pintard urges CEO Shevonn Cambridge to provide a detailed assessment of the damages caused by the fire. This information is essential for understanding the extent of the destruction and formulating an effective plan for restoration. It appears as if in the short term containerized rental generation would be required and work should commence to upgrade

transmission line from Central Andros to be able to export power from Central Andros to North Andros.

Restoration Timeline: The residents of North Andros, already burdened by the power outage, deserve clarity on when they can expect the restoration of electricity services. On the surface it appears that residents will be facing a minimum of a week before substantive help arrives. But this depends on the availability of financial resources, availability of rental generators, transformers and those components required to rebuild substation etc.

Pintard reassures the residents of North Andros that the FNM team remains committed to their well-being and will monitor and advise the government throughout this process. Mr. Pintard believes that some 5 MW of power (inclusive of redundancies) is required for North Andros and the government would require somewhere in the vicinity of $5 million dollars to have a significant impact on this troubling situation.

BPL requires an urgent strategic plan and an initiative similar if not identical to the rate reduction bond to properly recapitalize the Corporation. As it relates to the mid-term solution for BPL Andros, there is a need for a Solar Field for daylight power and rental generator for nighttime. Long Term the government should commit itself to Solar power with battery that can sustain power throughout the night.

The government and the Union must establish a close working relationship for the benefit of the consumers. This must include a coordinated training program that builds workforce capacity throughout the country and the establishment of vigorous maintenance program that mitigate again infrastructural deterioration, accidents, delayed maintenance and knowledge gap across the different types of assets in BPL inventory.

Residence should be kept up-to-date on proposed plans and progress being made.

Hon. Michael Pintard

Free National Movement, Leader

July 5, 2023

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