#Nassau, December 2, 2019 – Bahamas – Bahamas Power and Light Company Ltd. (BPL) reported a total system shutdown last night at 6:40PM. Subsequently, efforts to bring the system back from blackout conditions were advanced to about 75% of the network returned by 8:35PM, when we suffered a setback due to a secondary problem, requiring us restart restoration efforts.
Technical challenges during the second attempt at restoration delayed efforts as teams had to address an additional issue but we were able to return about 95% of the network to power shortly after 11PM. Our standby and emergency teams were able to restore the remaining customers shortly thereafter. Additional repair crews have been dispatched to identify and repair the faults on the transmission network, but these are not affecting any customers.
However, we received reports of an additional, unrelated outage in the Seabreeze area, and teams were dispatched to address that concern as well.
The cause of last night’s outages has initially been identified as a failure on the transmission network. At this time the issue appears to have been initiated by a failure on the underground cable between our Big Pond station and our East Hill Street primary substation. The issue is now being investigated and we will update the public as soon as information becomes available.
To be clear, the initial cause of the outages last night was not a loss of generation, but a major fault on our transmission network. We have systems in place designed to limit the impact of such faults on individual circuits. However, those systems, which are designed to isolate the problem before it impacts the rest of the network, did not operate in time to save the network last night. This resulted in a cascading failure that led to the blackout conditions.