Almost “all critical stock” needed by the Barbados Light & Power in the event that the island is hit by a system this hurricane season, is already here.
Corporate Communications Administrator, Jackie Marshall-Clarke said this week at a briefing at the Department of Emergency Management’s headquarters in Warrens, that the company’s teams of inspectors had been out to check all overhead lines to enable repair of vulnerable areas.
This exercise, she said, had been completed and all necessary work was either done or in progress.
“We believe in and practice preventative maintenance of our equipment. These inspections, added to planned maintenance during the year, help to ensure that our overhead transmission and distribution network is kept in a good condition. This helps us to identify and remove any potential threats, prior to the start of the hurricane season,” said Marshall-Clarke.
From January 1, she said they had intensified tree trimming efforts to support the line inspections. It was something they did every year, she indicated, to remove the major threats posed by trees by June 30.
“The vegetation management programme, as it is known in the company, has identified those trees which have the potential to impact overhead lines the greatest, during tropical storm force winds. We aim to ensure that these threats are removed first and, as a result, it may take longer for us to address similar situations involving individual customers. Our resources are limited, so we encourage customers to keep trees on their properties pruned and cut away from power lines,” she said.
She said by March 31 they had removed 40 per cent of the trees they needed too, and urged the public not to wait until trees had overgrown power lines to call the company.
Their crews were along the highways currently stepping up trimming operations on mainlines using specialised equipment, said Marshall-Clarke as she also warned the public against trying to clear dangerously sited trees themselves.
“Equipment and critical items stock levels are boosted to six-month levels and to date, 90 per cent of all critical stock has arrived. The company ensures that adequate quantity of material that is critical to restoring power after a hurricane is in stock by June 1 of each year. Materials include poles, wire, overhead conductors and associated hardware items.”
She said they also encouraged employees to make their own individual arrangements to minimise impact on them and so they could be available to work and assist electricity customers when problems occur.
The communications administrator warned that in the event of outage by weather, it was impossible to restore service to everyone at the same time, and priority was given to the hospital, air and sea ports, pumping stations, police and fire departments and communication facilities. (LB)