The Prime Minister Continues To Mislead The House Of Assembly And The Public On BPL

Sep 19, 2023

NEW PROVIDENCE, BAHAMAS – The PM’s comments on BPL were shamefully wrong and conflicted with the CEO of BPL account and as the PM seeks to run from the fact that the increase of cost of electricity is directly related to his and Minister Sear’s bad decision making which they sought to hide then and seek to hide now.

The Prime Minister’s assertion that the Station A Wartsila plant never worked fully is not correct. The log files would show that all 7 engines were running simultaneously when load demands required.

I challenge the PM to bring all of the log files for Station A. The Wartsila engines are tri- fuel and are designed to run Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO), Light fuel Oil (LFO), and LNG. When commissioned the engines were able to ruin HFO and LFO from day one, and when LNG became available the required gas fuel kits would have been installed to allow for LNG as a fuel source. There was no need to install the gas fuel kits prior to LNG becoming available.

The Station A engines were running LFO and HFO on a regular basis from they were commissioned.

With respect to the HFO and LFO fuel that is used to run the Station A engines, as per the terms of the agreement, it was BPL’s responsibility to provide ALL fuel to Station A. Further it was BPL’s responsibility to ensure that the fuel that was provided to Station A met the quality and purity standards as required by Wartsila. If and when there were problems with the purity of the fuel and the engines experienced issues, this would have been the direct responsibility of BPL.

Wartsila is the manufacturer of the engines, and were contracted to maintain and operate the engines at Station A to ensure that all manufacturer operations and maintenance standards were maintained, with the understanding that 51% of Station A power plant would have been acquired by Shell as part of a long term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) that would have reduced and stabilize the cost of power generation for at least 25 years.

The Prime Minister Continues To Mislead The House Of Assembly And The Public On BPL

Under the terms of the agreement, Wartsila assumed full responsibility for the engines including all warranty requirements. The fee that was paid to Wartsila also include routine and major maintenance, as well as spare and replacement parts. Shell and BPL had agreed in principal to a price for Station A, and it was important that the engine be maintained consistent with manufacturer specifications in order to justify the agreed-to purchase price, and Wartsila assumed full responsibility for any issues that may have occurred with the seven engines while under their direct control with respect to operations and maintenance.

The Bahamians that worked for Wartsila and were in fact Wartsila employees, with all of the rights and privileges provided by the company. During the negotiations with Wartsila BPL insisted that the company hire and train Bahamians to operate and maintain the engines because the FNM government did not want to see these jobs go to foreigners. Of the 36 Wartsila employees that worked in statin A, only 2 were foreign workers. This was by design and intent.

The Davis Administration cancelled the Wartsila contract in December 2022, and hired the Bahamians that are now former Wartsila employees as independent contractors, these persons are NOT BPL full time employees.

By cancelling the contract with Wartsila and replacing them with BWSC, a company that is not a certified Wartsila third-party service provider, the Davis administration has put the integrity of those engines into question both in the short and the long-term. Also, the Davis administration has put the timely availability of spare and replacement parts for the engines into question.

With respect to cost, if the Davis Administration would take a careful look at the cost of generation per kWh for 132MW Station A under Wartsila, and the cost of generation per kWh for the generation that is run by BPL employees, there will be a stark difference in these costs, with the Wartsila “all in “ costs being lower. As an example, Wartsila required only 36 employees to operate and maintain a 132MW plant, compare that to the almost 100 BPL employees that is required to run the roughly 70MW of engines at Clifton pier.

Fuel charge to consumers skyrocketed by 163% in large measure due to Davis-Sears cancellation of the Hedge program. This cancellation and the cover-up of their decision has resulted in the increase of electricity costs to residents and Business Persons. BPL‘s position overall has been made worse by their failure to execute the Rate Reduction Bond(RRB) while interest rates were favorable and would have made it workable. They like us, while in government, missed the opportunity to benefit from the RRB.

Prime Minister Davis has failed to provide a comprehensive vision and plan of action for BPL to put our country on a pathway to cleaner cheaper energy. Rather than settle down and do his job to tackle the enormous energy challenges, we now face that can erode financial gains being made, he speaks in an uninformed manner, misleads the public and levels accusations without providing facts. Our people are facing higher temperatures, higher electricity costs with much lower chances of help from Davis and Sears.

July 30, 2023

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