The Bahamas Power and Light Company Ltd. (BPL) investigation
into the outage that affected Harbour Island last week has confirmed that undersea cables connecting Harbour Island at the Three Island Dock site were damaged by boat propellers. There are two circuits connecting Harbour Island to mainland Eleuthera at the Three Island Dock crossing, either of which can maintain the supply to Harbour Island. Each circuit is made up of three individual cables.
Our investigations have confirmed that four cables were damaged in the incident, effectively knocking out both circuits. On three of the cables the damage has been repaired, allowing the return of one of the circuits to service. The fourth cable was damaged in multiple locations and repairs are ongoing. Both the cables and on-island generation are used to supply Harbour Island. However, because the generators (rentals) had tripped offline due to mechanical defects – as we have reported – when the cables were damaged it created an unavoidable outage.
Additionally, because the incident was not immediately reported to BPL, it took some time for teams to locate the damage to the undersea cables and execute the repairs. The damage to the cables, and the fact that the rental generators had failed due to mechanical defects, caused serious power supply issues on the island for a period of over 48 hours.
However, as reported, a new cable installed at the Whale Point/South Barr crossing as part of our planned reinforcement works for Harbour Island was used to restore power to portions of the island. Using this cable, we were able to restore partial power to the island, and by Thursday, December 23, at about 5PM, we had all customers on the island back on.