By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
OF its 19,000 customers, Grand Bahama Power Company has reconnected some 9,000 accounts, representing 47 percent of its customer base, since Hurricane Dorian pummeled the island.
Dave McGregor, CEO, said the company is making progress in getting power restored to customers in Freeport and West Grand Bahama, but officials are still waiting on a status report for eastern Grand Bahama, which was hardest hit by Dorian.
He indicated that they are trying to determine what power solution they can develop in the east.
According to Mr McGregor, GBPC has been able to energize all of the substations in Freeport and West Grand Bahama.
He said progress has been made as a result of its 209 local employees, and the 80 contractors from EMERA, and PIKE Electric, who are on island assisting with power restoration.
Mr McGregor said GBPC has been able to restore power at six schools on the island. These include two government schools, Freeport Primary and Walter Parker Primary, and four private institutions, including the Bishop Michael Eldon School, Freeport Gospel Chapel, Mary, Star of Sea Catholic Academy and Sunland Baptist.
In the downtown area, he said all businesses were devastated, and would have to be connected one at a time as they get clearance from the Grand Bahama Port Authority to connect those buildings.
“All of them had sea water damage and electricians have to inspect them first,” he said.
Power has been restored in the Industrial Park, according to Mr McGregor, who reported that major industrial companies such as the Freeport Container Port, Grand Bahama Shipyard, Freeport Harbour, PharmaChem and Polymers International are now back online and operational, and getting people back to work.
GBPC’s head office building at Pioneer’s Way also suffered flood damage, but Mr McGregor said it should be open for business today.
“Before the storm we had 19,000 customers; we are not sure what our customer list is going to look like now,” McGregor said. He noted that some 3,500 customers have not been given clearance by the Grand Bahama Port Authority to connect.
“Our target is to get more than 90 percent of customers that are cleared for power on again by the weekend,” he said.
Geron Turnquest, general manager of the Grand Bahama Utility Company, reported that the utility provider’s three well plants sustained significant flood damage during Dorian, but two of the plants are now back up.
He said the water quality of all 234 wells were compromised. Now that power has been restored to two of three plants, he said water distribution has started in Freeport area and will move west.