By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
DESPITE having the necessary supplies and work teams already in place, restoring power to customers affected by Hurricane Joaquin on Crooked Island will take “some time” to complete, the Bahamas Electricity Corporation said on Friday.
The corporation, through Bahamas Information Services (BIS), said all of its “necessary supplies”, including temporary housing for work teams, pole-hole borers, bucket trucks, poles and overhead lines are already “on island”. However, it said that restoring power to the island will likely take an indefinite amount of time because “a complete rebuild of the generation and distribution networks on the island is needed”.
Additionally, the corporation said areas such as True Blue, Cove, Brown’s Bullet Hill and Thompson’s remain “inaccessible” to work crews and thus present challenges for restoration.
Repair work commenced in Crooked Island on Wednesday, the statement said.
Meanwhile, BEC teams have completed full restoration in Rum Cay, San Salvador, Acklins and Long Cay as of last Sunday.
In Long Island, BEC teams have restored power to 84 per cent of customers, the corporation said. As of Wednesday, BEC had restored power to as far south as Clarence Town, with pole and line repair works continuing in Dunmore’s Town. Additionally, some 120 household meters damaged by the hurricane have been replaced thus far, the corporation said.
However, BEC noted that the southern end of Long Island has proven to be a “challenge” for BEC’s crews, as there was also “extensive damage” to BEC’s distribution network on that part of the island. The corporation said a crew from the British Virgin Islands, will be “redeployed” to assist with restoration efforts on that island.
Meanwhile, the Water and Sewage Corporation (WSC) reported that it was able to restore most of its systems within 48 hours of the passage of Hurricane Joaquin.
Supply in the “more affected areas” was restored within three days to a week, the corporation said.
However, WSC presently has no operations on Rum Cay, according to BIS. The corporation said itself along with central government is “presently reviewing the best options to address the potable water needs of the residents”.
On Long Island, normal operations, inclusive of both the Simms and Deadman’s Cay desalination plants as well as the “tanking” of water, were fully restored as of October 12. WSC noted, however, that it has temporarily suspended its usual charges for tanked water ($100/load) until further notice.
In Crooked Island, WSC officials were able to “partially restore” water supply to Colonel Hill as of October 8, using a standby generator power supply.
The Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC), meanwhile, reported that its cell sites are still inoperable at Major’s Cay and Pitts Town, Crooked Island. There is “limited cell service” from the Crooked Island site. However, its cell sites in Cripple and Cabbage Hills have been restored.
BTC also reported that cell sites are still inoperative on Long Island from Gordon’s Settlement to Mortimer’s. A portable unit is on site to restore services to Roses Settlement, the statement said. Seymour’s Settlement, Miller’s Hamilton’s, Deadman’s Cay, Stella Maris, Simms and Clarence Town have all had their cell sites restored.
Other islands in which BTC has restored its cell sites include Cat Island, Exuma, Inagua, Mayaguana, Rum Cay, Ragged Island, Acklins, and San Salvador.
The Department of Environmental Health Services (DEHS) also reported that its staff continues to carry out vector control activities, primarily fogging, and that the department is working with local government officials to conduct cleanup exercises in the affected areas.
That is expected to take another two months to complete, the department said.