Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) Chairman Leslie Miller said he is upset at the apparent sabotage at the corporation’s Clifton Pier Power Station that will cost BEC hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair.
Mr. Miller told the Bahama Journal that just before 10:00 p.m. Sunday night, officials discovered that a 31 megawatt engine was sabotaged at Clifton.
He said he believes that it was done by BEC workers.
“There is no doubt that it was an inside job. Only employees would have access to that place, only employees would have known which wires to cut. The wires – you have to go underground in the building itself and they severed the main wire that produces about 1,000 gallons a minute to keep those engines heated if not that engine would burn up. That engine cost $42 million – the latest that BEC installed,” Mr. Miller said.
The chairman said the culprits were not finished there.
“They then went into the auxiliary room, which is the heart of BEC and then severed 15 wires and then took 200 feet of that wire. Out of each of the 15 wires they made sure took all of the wire that runs to the other end that keeps all of the auxiliaries running at Clifton,” he said.
Luckily, the sabotage did cause any power outages.
“Temporarily, the men had to switch and cut those engines off and switch to other engines. When those things happen we have to switch our loads to Blue Hills and all of our engines are switched to Blue Hills. It costs the average Bahamian in excess of $256,000 extra just for fuel to run Blue Hills,” Mr. Miller said.
The chairman recently announced that BEC was looking to cut electricity bills by seven to 15 per cent.
But he said this sabotage seeks to thwart that initiative.
“They are seeking to make sure that we don’t do that because these people own BEC. And when you try to affect their overtime or do anything that is beneficial to the Bahamian people the crew out there decides that they are going to show who really owns BEC. Hence they sabotage and hold the Bahamian people hostage,” Mr. Miller said.
“That will not be allowed. The minister is very disappointed. We don’t understand the ungratefulness of people, who as tough as this economy is – the average salary in BEC is $50,000 and our pay roll being $57 million for less than 1,000 employees and all the benefits like free insurance, free medical plan, free pension – and that’s what you get. The whole crew at BEC needs to be reorganised and reconstructed to serve the needs of the Bahamian people instead of serving the needs of themselves.”
He continued, “ There is no doubt in my mind that the people know who did it and this is a cover-up because no one is ever held responsible at BEC and it is owned by the Bahamian people and not the crew who believe that they own BEC.”
Mr. Miller said police officials were called in to investigate the sabotage.
“It sure as hell wasn’t a stranger off the streets. How would a stranger know how to get into that apparatus of BEC when you walk into a plant that is about 200 yards from the road. You had to go through security and no fence was cut,” he said.
“This is not going to be tolerated. Every Bahamian should be upset about this.”