The electrical current in Bermuda is 110 V, 60 Hz AC. Flat, two-pronged plugs are in use. All US and Canadian appliances will work on the island, without voltage converters or adapters.
European visitors will need to bring a hammer to force their rounded plugs into the sockets. Travellers from the UK (3-pronged plugs) will have to try even harder. Your hotel may be keener to see you again if you purchase an adapter for your appliances.
Power outages are a familiar part of island life. Many power lines are over ground so the electricity supply is particularly vulnerable to nature’s wrath. Hurricanes and severe storms frequently knock whole areas of the island off the grid. Fortunately, most hotels are well equipped to deal with such problems and have back-up generators to supply power until the main supply is restored.
If you’re staying in private accommodation, call 955 to report a power outage.
Power surges are also common in Bermuda. It’s advisable to bring a surge protector to protect your valuable electrical devices from voltage spikes. It’s also a good idea to unplug items when not in use.
Electrical adapters and surge protectors will almost certainly be cheaper to buy from a store in your home town or at the airport. If you need to purchase them while you are in Bermuda try P-Tech on Reid Street in Hamilton.
Generation & Supply
BELCO (Bermuda Electric Light Company) are the only power company on the island. They are wholly owned by Ascendant Group, an investor-owned holding company. Other companies in the group include Bermuda Gas and Air Care.
There is one power plant in Bermuda. It’s situated on a 23-acre site in Pembroke Parish, approximately ½ mile northwest of Hamilton. There are two power stations on the site, with a total of 21 turbine engines. In Bermuda the turbines are powered directly by fuel oil or diesel.
Bermuda is completely dependent on imported fuel. It’s brought to the island by tanker and fed into storage tanks Ferry Reach in St George’s Parish. Fuel for electricity generation is then pumped through a 9 mile long pipeline to the BELCO power plant.
The voltage of electricity produced by the generators is boosted by a transformer and is then transmitted by high voltage power lines to substations around the island (there are approximately 30). At these substations, transformers reduce the voltage, and it’s then distributed to neighbourhoods by cable. Smaller transformers then lower the voltage further for use in homes; 220V for large appliances like cookers, and 120V for smaller appliances.
A small amount of electricity, approximately 2.5 MW annually, is generating by incinerating waste. It’s just a small fraction of 120 MW generated at the BELCO plant. Garbage is burned at the Tynes Bay Incinerator in Devonshire Parish and the heat generated is used to produce steam. The steam powers a turbine connected to a generator, and the resulting electricity is sold to BELCO.
The cost of importing fuel, together with import duties and lack of economies of scale, means that electricity in Bermuda is extremely expensive. Its cost is a major factor contributing to the high cost of living on the island.
The island urgently needs to address its energy policy. In 2014 the Ascendant Group announced its Integrated Resources Plan. The proposal would see a number of measures implemented, including installing solar panels mounted on around 1,000 homes per year and a transition to power stations using liquefied natural gas instead of oil.
In recent years several independent solar energy companies have been established. Alternative Energy Systems (Bermuda) Ltd has installed SunPower systems at the Gorham’s hardware store, saving them almost $300,000 per year in electricity costs. Another company, Bermuda Engineering, has fitted solar plants at the US Consulate and the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.