Grand Bahama consumers who were without electricity can look forward to restoration.
The objective of Grand Bahama Power Company President and Chief Executive Officer Archie Collins is to have power restored to many residents by today (Monday 11), and those who were affected by tornados, by the end of the week.
On Sunday night, the residents experienced an island-wide black out, power was shut down. Collins provided an update on his company’s activities geared to restoring service on Monday during a press conference at the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Office of the Prime Minister.
“For all intents and purposes the island was being de-energized as of 9:30 p.m. last night (Sunday September 10) due to increased winds.
“While we had crews working to maintain the power supply right through Saturday (September 9) by early that morning they could no longer have crews working on the power lines (in a lift) and duties carried out on the system had to be done on the ground.
“We did remove trees from lines, as well as set and secure poles that were not stable. Also we restored a large number of feeders as they tripped off too. Up to 9:30 p.m. last night (Sunday), we had in excess of 80 percent of our customers energized with power. However, as winds picked up more than was expected, the decision was made to de-energize the island to protect and secure the equipment.
“We consciously took the system down and there was not a lot of damage sustained, which could have forced our hand. That gives us a higher degree of confidence that we will in a straightforward manner get it back online,” he said.
Collins further informed that critical employees reported to work as of 6 a.m. Monday morning and they began the assessment process which hours later was followed by procedures for the restoration process.
To better prepare for what was expected from Hurricane Irma, Collins disclosed about 100 men left Canada last Tuesday with 50 trucks and were themselves in Florida at the Georgia line, ready to assist if needed.
“We did that because we were worried that if Florida got hit as hard as Florida has been hit, then any dependency we would have on TECO (Tampa Electric, one of the Emera affiliates) just wouldn’t be there, so we realized that we would have to bring some crews in from outside of the United States,” he said.
Based on what Florida was experiencing, that crew was sent to Tampa. If it becomes necessary for them to come to Grand Bahama they would not get here until Thursday at the earliest.
However, Collins is of the strong view that power would be restored in that period of time, because the system in Grand Bahama experienced very little damage.
The restoration process was helped by the rainfall on Monday, according to Collins, as it washed away the salt that blew on insulators, sub-stations and all of their lines.
Cleopatra Russell Corporate Communications Officer of the GBPC informed this daily that the GBPC has worked diligently to return to the full energized level.
“Up to a point we had about 50 to 60 percent of customers who did not experience any interruptions of power at all. GBPC did conduct a stand-down on Sunday as a result of tornado activity. The majority of pole issues resulted from tornado activity,” she pointed out.