Grand Bahama Power Co. Ltd. (GBPC) Corporate Communications Officer, Cleopatra Wallace-Russell, addressed customers’ concerns on Monday, January 23, 2017 due to island-wide power outages.
According to Wallace-Russell, “Yesterday (Sunday, January 22, 2017) during the early afternoon the GBPC received reports indicating that the island would experience severe, inclement weather that could further compromise the electricity grid system, which was damaged in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.
“As a result of the information received, the first order of business executed by the GBPC involved logging onto social media and informing our customers to prepare themselves for inclement weather.
“The next step in the process involved uploading the weather report into the GBPC Weather Modeling System to predict the amount of damage that would possibly be sustained to the electricity grid system,” Wallace Russell explained.
“Sunday evening at approximately 6:00 p.m. the GBPC 24-hour Customer Care Line lit up with calls of outages across the island due to the weather conditions worsening and high wind gusts causing already compromised power lines and utility poles to come down.
“Immediately, the GBPC dispatched eight crews to affected areas throughout the island with all working until nearly 9:00 p.m. when the wind gusts increased to 20 mph therefore it was no longer safe for linesmen in bucket trucks to continue working.
“A stand down work order was put into affect until first light this morning (Monday January 23, 2017) when it was safe for crews to begin making assessments and restoring electricity.”
Electrical outages began in the West Grand Bahama district which comprises the largest GBPC customer base revealed Wallace-Russell, also noted that up to 4:00 p.m. crews continued working to restore electricity.
Additionally, outages also occurred throughout Central and East Grand Bahama and according to Wallace-Russell since 2:00 p.m. yesterday most GBPC customers had their power supply fully restored and focused attention by work crews had been reallocated to isolated power outages in various communities.
“Naturally, due to Hurricane Matthew the GBPC’s electrical grid system would have been compromised and while there may have been issues reported before the tropical storm made landfall in October, it is now understood that inclement weather such as this cold snap would have allowed the issue to be more “easy” to identify.
“Examples of such could involve a leaning utility pole or loosely hanging power line as well as a damaged transformer, which would not have been as easy to get to if it had not been for inclement weather that brought the situation prominently to the forefront.
“Furthermore, while some customers may have reported such concerns beforehand, the GBPC may not have been in a position at the time to rectify the situation as quickly as expected due to a shortage of work crews however, we are working diligently to address and rectify as expeditiously as possible every reported issue our customers face to restore their electrical supply safely,” said Wallace-Russell.
Of course predicting the weather would be difficult especially as it relates to whether or not worsening weather conditions throughout the remainder of the week would cause more damages as well as power outages, said the GBPC Corporate Communications Officer, who noted that strategic mechanisms are being implemented across the island to fortify the electrical grid system that is not as secure as it was before Hurricane Matthew unleashed its fury over three months ago.
Preventative maintenance is ongoing revealed Wallace-Russell, who also noted the GBPC is working feverishly in the hopes that those areas would not be affected once restored whether or not it is due to inclement weather, a blown transmission downed power lines or once the electrical supply is restored and a fuse goes out.
“Yes we urge customers to call the GBPC 24-hour Customer Care Service Hotline and report power outages at their home or in their community do not assume that your neighbor may have called, as we need everyone to give a report which helps work crews in restoring the supply in a timely fashion.
“The GBPC is here to address these issues no matter the hour and we do not want any customer to feel as though they are being a “nag” because that would not be the case at all as this is a service everyone has to pay for and that is our job to ensure your receive the best in service, so please log everything that is going on.
“We need to be able to identify issues of concern to all customers to get everything running efficiently and work crews only not be allowed to come out if it proves dangerous as safety is our top priority for workmen and customers alike.
“As soon as the entire island is restored, updates would be expeditiously provided so we encourages our customers to report matters and bear with us as we work to restore their service in a timely manner,” declared Wallace-Russell.
Published Tuesday, January 24, 2017