September 19, 2020

Be energy patient. Barbados is. Power restored there after Tomas in 16 days. Grand Cayman took 77 days after Ivan.


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…in aftermath of a hurricane

In the aftermath of the passage of Tomas, 30 000 customers of the Barbados Light & Power were affected. It took 16 days to restore 99 percent of the island and 30 days for full restoration.

Comparatively with the passage of Hurricane Ivan in 2004 in Grand Cayman it took 77 days for total restoration, with the assistance of five utility groups from across the region.

With the passage of Hurricane Ivan in Grenada also in 2004, 80 percent of the country’s overhead network was destroyed. It took six months for power to be fully restored.

This information was provided by Kim Leacock Distribution Engineer BL&P as he joined the many organisations that are seeking to get Barbadians ready for the hurricane season which officially started on June 1.

Speaking at a recently held free lecture at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Conference Centre, Leacock showed the length of time that it could take to fully restore power to households, depending on the level of damage caused by a severe weather system, and urged all Barbadians to step up their level of preparedness and also to be patient and understanding during power outages.

According to Leacock, “Be prepared for a long wait depending on the severity and that is something that it is not easy to accept but it is something that you would be forced to accept in those situations. And when you survive it, you have a better appreciation for the preparation and the whole experience.”

“Restoration will take some time. The damage assessment which will take days because we must have an idea of the extent of the damage so that we can have a planned restoration process.” He explained that BL& P officials would then categorise the damage according to the length of time that it would take to be restored.

Leacock reminded that in the aftermath of Tomas in Barbados, 15 schools were restored in one week along with several pumping stations. It took 16 days to restore 99 percent and 30 days for full restoration “And that was just a brush,” he reminded. “One week and Bajans were agitated and in some cases two days,” he mused.

He said that essential services would be the first to be restored. “The hospital and Water Authority in the Belle, they have a direct underground link so they would be back online as soon as possible as long as there was no damage to the cables. If the damage is too great, we will contact the Caribbean Electric Utilities Service Corporation for assistance,” he said. CARILEC is the umbrella entity of the electric utilities in the region.

Leacock, who has led teams from the BL&P on three CARILEC missions in the Caribbean following the passage of hurricanes, says It calls for understanding appreciation and patience for residents and customers who are affected.

In addition to exercising patience, Leacock suggested that persons should check their stand by generators to ensure that they are working, that the change-over switch is functional and that it contains adequate diesel.

“Be patient and above all be your brother’s keeper. That is required at those times,” he advised.

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