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Abaco residents fed up with BPL

Imagine going NINE MONTHS WITHOUT ELECTRICITY. It’s a reality for hundreds of residents in parts of Abaco, which remain in darkness following Hurricane Dorian which ravaged the island last September.

Their sad state continues as another above normal hurricane season begins, with a forecasted 13 to 19 named storms, including 3 to 6 major hurricanes.

So much for Bahamas Power and Light Chairman Dr. Donovan Moxey’s promise that power would be fully restored on Abaco by the end of March.

Disaster Reconstruction Authority Chairman John Michael Clarke came behind the good doctor, announcing that electricity would be fully restored on Abaco by May. They missed that deadline too.

Impacted residents are fed up with the slow progress in restoring utilities.

“To be honest it’s a burden. We spend about $400 a week just on gas and that’s not running the generator all day. Thats about three hours in the morning when it’s time to get ready for work,then we turn it off until about 8 in the evening and around 12:30 or 1am it shuts off, “ according to a resident who lives in the Marsh Harbour area.

He said they are tired of having their questions go unanswered.

“The length is really frustrating because they told us by March we would’ve had power and it’s now June and still no power. We live in the Marsh Harbour area and they’re now dressing the poles but when will we have power, “ the resident asked. “We keep asking those questions but can’t seem to get an answer. It’s always we’re not sure.”

In an effort to quell their concerns, BPL released an Abaco restoration timeline on Wednesday.

In Sweetings Village, Bahamas Power and Light said work has been delayed as the power company awaits the arrival of the final components for that area. The equipment is expected to be installed by Saturday, June 6. Residents there are keeping their fingers crossed.

On Treasure Cay, BPL estimates that power will be restored in sections commencing with Ocean Boulevard, Madeira Park, Dommy Villa and Buckingham Beach, starting June 11.

Work will begin on Murphy Town/Forest Drive from Ben Curry Drive to CMI Church and Pelican Shores on June 12 while temporary generating sites on Man-O-War cay will be brought online on June 6.

Other parts of Abaco will have to wait weeks and, in some instances, months.

According to BPL, work on Murphy Town Boulevard from Forest Drive Way to Zion Baptist Church will start on June 21 and on Treasure Cay’s southern end starting June 23.

On Little Orchard, the completion of HV Works and energization isn’t estimated until August 3.

On Guana Cay, teams are preparing to commence the installation of temporary generation.

However, after power is finally restored to those areas, the company stressed that customers must apply to the Ministry of Works to receive approval for power supply to be restored to their homes.

Frustrated residents claim their situation has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Hurricane Dorian left almost a year ago and we still don’t have any power. Persons who already have their homes fixed are still waiting on power. So from January to now we’ve been spending $1,600 a month on gas for the generator. Then with covid-19 coming around it’s heartbreaking because most persons lost their jobs so persons now are going on hopes and it’s sad, “ he said.

With the self-imposed deadlines of March and May already missed for power supply to be fully restored to Abaco, there’s no telling when all of the people of Abaco will have electricity again.

One Abaconian said they are determined to get back on their feet with or without the government.

“Before Hurricane Dorian, Abaco was the island that sends the most money to Treasury and to see that the government has turned its backs on us is sad. We’re resilient people and we’re rebuilding as fast as we can without the government’s help.”

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