Although the expectancy of power outages throughout Grand Bahama was high, with the massive Hurricane Irma threatening a direct landfall, the Grand Bahama Power Company (GBPC) had its crews mobilized and about 96 percent of its customers enjoyed the convenience of service.
GBPC President and Chief Operating Officer Archie Collins had expressed confidence as early as Friday afternoon that the company would be able to provide service despite the hurricane that was approaching.
When contacted by The Freeport News on Friday afternoon, Collins indicated that there was an all-out effort ongoing to ensure a stable power source.
“We have no plans to cut power across the entire island. If things look really bad on Sunday and power becomes unstable we will inform the public,” said Collins.
On Sunday morning he disclosed that generally, just a relatively small percentage of business houses and areas were without power for a while, due to four of the company’s 36 feeders being out of working condition.
CEO Collins listed businesses such as Sawyers Food Store, Sands Brewery and News, Sunny Isles, (at The Freeport News, we had to use our generator), Gold Rock; and the areas of Pine Ridge, Fortune Bay Drive North, the downtown Freeport area, Seahorse Village, Royal Palm Way, Tarry Town Drive and Lincoln Close.
Marketing and Public Relations executive Cleopatra Russell explained the cause of the outages.
“We discovered we had challenges in some areas, but due mostly to the backlog issues from Hurricane Matthew. There were certain root causes that our crews had to search out and some customers experienced power quality issues on Saturday. However by 11 p.m., most were restored,” said Russell.
Russell further expressed satisfaction with the communication lines between the company and its customers and GBPC being able to supply power to a “vast majority.”
“I can say that for the most part, the power was on throughout the island straight through for about 96-97 percent of our customers. We also had a great communication with them and we saw to it that the vast majority was energized.”
As for Sunday and beyond, Russell pledged that GB Power was pushing to keep power on. She acknowledged that safety for the crews was a prime issue and that they were pulled in when the winds gusted to 30 miles per hour and more.
“For those areas that are out of power, the plan is to begin an assessment as soon as the weather dies down. Our crews remain mobilized and ready to, go and as soon as it is safe and the wind drops below 30 miles per hour, they will go out again,” she said.
Of course, the difficulties confronting GB Power this time around, as opposed to Hurricane Matthew last October, were more manageable. Although early in the week, there were predictions that Grand Bahama and most of The Bahamas, would feel the brunt of Hurricane Irma, largely, the county was spared.
“We have no reports as yet of downed poles. We will have probably wires in some cases to deal with, because of some heavy branches and a few fallen trees, but I can say that the system is holding very well,” stated Russell.