WEDNESDAY, NOV. 21: A contractor has threatened to pull the plug on its power supply to Hamilton Docks because it says Government has not paid its bill for more than four months.
Tommy Chiappa has told shipping agents he will remove the huge generator that currently supplies electricity to the banks of refrigerated containers, tomorrow morning.
He says Government has not paid him for providing the generator, or the fuel used to power it, since the beginning of June.
Last night a Government spokesman said the Ministry of Finance was aware of the concerns and did not anticipate any disruption in service as parties are “working towards a satisfactory resolution”.
If Mr Chiappa’s threat was carried out, and no back-up was provided, food and other perishables on the docks would be ruined.
An e-mail sent by Mr Chiappa, of TC Associates, to shipping companies yesterday, states: “This email will serve as notice for the withdrawal of all services to do with the supplement of the 40 plug power pack used to generate 460 x 3 phase power for refrigerated and freezer containers at the Port.
“This is due to non payment (over 120 days) by the Bermuda Government and the fact that there is no confirmation at present as to when payment will be forthcoming.
“Because of this we have decide(sic) that we can no longer supply this unit.
“Service will unfortunately cease as of Thursday morning (shut down and unplug) on November 22, 2012.
“There will be no power to any refrigerated or freezer containers at the Hamilton Port thereafter unless we receive outstanding payment (July to October) or confirmation by authorized persons of a payment date that we feel is within a reasonable timeframe.”
He added: “We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and will advise you as soon as we receive work from government as to their plan of action regarding the position we have been place in.”
The banks of refrigerated containers were moved several months ago to make way for the X-Ray machine at Hamilton Docks.
They had previously been positioned close to the new entrance at Number 7 gate.
Now they can be found near the old Number 8 gate entrance, opposite Seon Place.
But the project has run behind schedule and there is still no permanent power supply to the refrigerated containers.
As a result Mr Chiappa’s generator has been used to produce the power needed to keep them cool since June.
One source told the Bermuda Sun: “This could have a major effect on the reefers.
“These containers need to be plugged in and supplied with power to keep the goods refrigerated.
“If the power is turned off on Thursday morning and there is no replacement source found the goods could be spoiled.
“The other thing to consider is that two container ships arrive on Thursday so that is around 25 refrigerated containers on the docks.
“A lot of them will be able to be taken across the roads but there will be some that can not be and there is the risk that the produce will be ruined.”
The Sun contacted Government and asked why Mr Chiappa had not been paid and what was being done to resolve the situation.
A spokesperson said: “Today the Ministry of Finance advised that it is aware of the concerns raised by Mr. Chiappa.
“The Ministry pointed out however that it doesn’t anticipate any disruption in service as the parties are working towards a satisfactory resolution.”