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THE Bahamas Electricity Corporation said it is close to fully restoring power in Cat Island and Eleuthera, the islands hardest hit by Hurricane Irene.
In a statement issued yesterday, BEC said its teams on those islands have made tremendous progress in the aftermath of the storm.
In Cat Island, BEC teams in conjunction with a team from Carilec, a Caribbean association of electrical companies, have been able to restore supply from Orange Creek in the north to Old Bight.
So far, more than 1,000 customers on that island have had their electricity service restored.
About 20 per cent of customers on the island remain without supply, BEC said.
Teams were working in the areas of Bain Town, Port Howe, an ...
The Bahamas Electricity Corporation power plant under construction in Wilson City, Abaco, is being built using best international practices, and is being monitored by government agencies, Minister of State for Utilities the Hon. Phenton Neymour assured Abaco residents on Thursday, September 10.
At a press conference earlier this year, Bahamas Electricity Corporation officials said they expected no load shedding to take place this summer.
After the hottest summer in recent memory, and the failure of BEC to prevent repeated instances of prolonged load shedding, many people now look skeptically at anything uttered by management at BEC.
The Bahamas National Council Preparation and Planning For Person With Disabilities.
If you or someone close to you have a disability or a special need, you may have to take additional steps to protect yourself and your family in an emergency.
Contribution to Debate on the Communications Act 2009 by Education Minister, the Hon. Carl W. Bethel, M.P., 4th May 2009
Guardian Business: Can you briefly describe your experience in the tourism sector and what your role is today?
Sonia: I had the privilege of working for the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island from 2002-2005. It was a breakthrough opportunity for me after serving seven years at the Ministry of Works as a design engineer and project manager. In the role at Atlantis I drew on my project management skills, as I had responsibility for executing an annual multi-million dollar capital budget for all the senior vice presidents of the company who were at the time my internal customers. Unlike in the public sector I was given a lot of autonomy to run the projects department. I, of course, closely coordinated with the heads of the facilities division but felt empowered, and I was expected to succeed.
I currently own and operate a full service mechanical and electrical engineering consultancy and, as it turns out, my major project is the Baha Mar Development resort being undertaken on Cable Beach. Graphite Engineering Ltd. has been selected as the Mechanical and Electrical Engineers of Record for this project.
GB: Why did you choose to work in tourism as a career?
Sonia: I did not choose tourism specifically as a career, but as a consequence of what was available in the economy. An opportunity in tourism presented itself and I was pleased to embrace it. Bahamian engineers continue to be under represented in major tourism projects at the level of design and onwards. This will only change if we continue to build capacity and, when given an opportunity, we provide stellar service.
GB: What has been your most memorable moment?
Sonia: My team was given the opportunity to oversee the renovation of the Crown Ballroom. By dollar value it was the largest project given to our department. It was not a technically challenging assignment but we had a very short time frame to deliver the project, and we were able to get it done.
GB: Has the industry changed since you started your career? How?
Sonia: As it specifically refers to the engineering services in hotels, there have been a myriad of changes because the mechanical and electrical systems that support these buildings, keeping them lit and cool, continue to be more sophisticated.
GB: What should The Bahamas focus on to stay competitive?
Sonia: We are currently sitting on an opportunity to aggressively push sustainable tourism and make this a given for any property in The Bahamas. We should require that our hotels in the first instance be high performance buildings, with excellent carbon footprints. We should be reusing, recycling and cutting waste. If we can do this without hurting our cost competitiveness we would set ourselves apart from the pack and demonstrate that we really care about our country.
GB: What advice would you give to a young person who is considering a career in tourism?
Sonia: Do your homework, literally. There a lot of opportunities very high up in the food chain of these resorts that Bahamians can fill. We must accept the fact that a lot of the developers are multi-national companies and it means we may be competing with international persons for jobs at home. This means we need to get international exposure and experience, and be prepared to function at the top of our game.
One of the many things we Bahamians seem to agree on is we like our air-conditioning - and we like it cold.
I challenge you to check to see if your thermostat is hovering somewhere near the 60°F range. Believe me I understand. When it's heading to 90°F outside, it's quite refreshing to step into a nice cool room.
We might, however, want to consider if our propensity for instant cooling is hurting our pockets.
The ability to control the temperature of air indoors is an important factor in business. It makes the construction of tall buildings or buildings with deep floor plans feasible and is an important life safety issue, as a supply of good quality air at the right temperature and humidity is important for good health. Indeed, this is critical to health care professionals, for example, and is used widely and to great success in hospitals and similar facilities.
And lets face it - whether you own a restaurant, shop or a home business, it keeps you and customers comfortable.
Effective use of your air-conditioning system can have a significant impact on your electricity bill. About 31 percent of the electrical consumption for small public buildings, for example, can be attributed to air-conditioning, according to the Fitchner report titled, "Promoting Sustainable Energy in the Bahamas", dated September 2010.
By comparison, according to a 2006 document published by E Source Companies, entitled the "Commercial Energy Advisor", on average, 23 percent of the electrical consumption of U.S. business can be traced to cooling, and 25 percent to heating.
The best way to stay cool without breaking the bank is relatively simple.
The easiest no-cost strategy is to turn off the air-conditioning equipment completely when the space is unoccupied. Alternatively, establish an unoccupied setting of around 80°F. This, of course, does not apply to areas of the building that are temperature dependent such as server rooms, but these should be on a separate unit anyway.
Another no-cost strategy is to set the thermostat just a little higher. Most systems are designed to work well with a setting of 75°F. Try using a setting between 72°F and 75°F.
By doing this, the condenser or outdoor unit will be allowed to cut out or shut off for a few minutes. It is important to simultaneously leave the indoor fan in the "on" position while the air-conditioning system is in use.
Your outdoor unit is the energy hog, so when you hear it cut in, needless to say, your money is burning. In fact, it can use up to ten times as much power as your indoor unit, so you want to consume wisely.
A third tip is to encourage staff to completely close blinds at the end of the day to preserve cooling overnight. If your office does not have blinds at the windows, consider installing them.
Strategies that involve small but worthwhile investments include installing a seven-day programable thermostat to pre-set your system based on the usual office routine, consistently maintaining equipment to ensure they are functioning efficiently, regularly replacing filters or clean washable ones, ensuring the building envelope is sealed by stopping up cracks and replacing broken windows and have ductwork checked for leaks. You might also look at checking that your thermostat is placed in a location away from sources of heat.
Bigger investments to maximize the performance of your air-conditioning system would involve installing insulation in the roof, replacing single-paned windows with double paned windows, installing external shading like Bahama style shutters, making your roof a cool roof and replacing equipment with energy star rated or high efficiency units.
Additionally, replace inefficient appliances and lighting that add excessive heat to your space. Have a professional balance the system to eliminate hot and cold spots.
Employ these simple but effective strategies to help you to chip away at your electricity bill.
Remember the power is in your hands - so own it.
Challenge for this week: Set the thermostat in your office to 75°F and see if anyone notices.
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Sonia Brown is Principal of Graphite Engineering Ltd and is a registered Professional Engineer
I have been disappointed but not surprised by the failure of Members Opposite to recognize that my Government has made considerable and measurable progress in making lemonade from the lemons which they left on the table when they were put out of office in 2007.
After years as an executive of the Bahamas Electrical Workers Union (BEWU), Stephano Greene will now lead the organization.
Greene -- who served as the union's secretary general -- learned he became the president-elect when the unofficial results of Wednesday's polls were released yesterday.
This week's poll followed an election earlier this year that ended in controversy.
Greene ran for president in that election as well, but lost by fewer than 20 votes.
In February, the Department of Labour nullified elections held in January after it was discovered that there were people who ran for positions who were not eligible to participate in elections.
Greene's position will become official once the results are certified and he is sworn in next week.
He said his top priority is preparing the Bahamas Electricity Corporation's line staff workers for the possibility of privatization.
He said that he would learn from the experience of executives of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company's unions leading up to that company's privatization earlier this year.
"I have the advantage of (learning) from them firsthand what we need to do differently from them as it relates to preparing our members for privatization," Greene said.
He added that he would also learn from his contacts in Barbados and in Grand Bahama where private companies provide power.
"We can also sit with them to figure out what we can do differently than they might have done," he said.
Greene also said salary issues need to be addressed in the near future.
"We haven't had a salary administration study done for more than 10 years. The last one was done in 1996," he said.
"We need to make sure and get all of those things done so that we can make sure our members are properly appreciated and that they're properly trained and that we can raise the morale of the membership in the corporation to make the corporation better."