By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Bahamas Power & Light Company (BPL) has begun restoring power throughout New Providence, although the company warned in a statement on Facebook early Friday morning that it could take days "or even longer" before power is restored to all customers on the island because of the damage to its distribution network island-wide by Hurricane Matthew.
"Power has been restored to Eastwood and Downtown Nassau after 1am this morning and work continues," the company said. "The company's action plan for restoration is a step down approach impacting the largest amount of customers first and continuing on to smaller groupings and then individual customers.
"Once assessments of the transmission lines are complete and repairs, if necessary are made, BPL will begin restoring supply to communities. Customers whose supply are delivered through underground transmission and distribution lines will likely have their power restored first. After transmission line work is complete, BPL will also begin restoring supply to communities fed through overhead lines.
"This process may take much longer as there is considerable damage to BPL’s overhead distribution network on the island. Once larger community restorations are complete, BPL will begin addressing individual customer issues. Given the extent of the damage restoration could, for some, take several days or even longer.
"There are numerous issues that may impact the restoration process including; severe flooding on several parts of the island. We fully understand how critical power is in helping you recover from such a destructive storm; however, while we will work hard to get power restored to all communities, we will do so safely. We cannot and will not jeopardise the safety of our teams or customers to expedite this process.
"We hope customers can appreciate the extremity of this situation and will work along with us to help all communities and the entire country bounce back after this devastating storm."
The central and southern Family Islands, which fared relatively well during Hurricane Matthew, have already begun to experience power restoration. Power has been restored to parts of Cat Island and South Island and fully to Rum Cay, Long Cay, San Salvador, Mayaguana and Crooked Island. Efforts are being made to restore supply to Long Island, although power remains off in Exuma and Eleuthera.
Assessments are being undertaken in Bimini, Great Harbour Cay and Abaco after they were hit by the storm.