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CUC helps restore power in Bahamas after hurricane

| 14/10/2016 | 0 Comments
CNS Local Life

CUC executives Richard Hew (left), David Watler (second left) and Robert Whorms (right) with Bahamas-bound linepersons Raphael Lin (third left), Andrew Skowby, Gary Whittaker, Brandon Cadle and Shane Cato

(CNS Local Life): Five members of CUC’s transmission and distribution (T&D) operations department have travelled to the Bahamas to assist with the restoration of power following the recent passing of Hurricane Matthew. The CUC linepersons are expected to work with the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) for about three weeks, with a second crew on standby in case additional assistance is needed.

This is the second time that CUC has assisted the Bahamas with restoration efforts, the first being in October 1999 when the company sent seven linepersons following the passing of Hurricane Floyd.

Gary Whittaker, CUC’s superintendent of T&D operations, will head up the team comprising Andrew Skowby, Brandon Cadle, Raphael Lin and Shane Cato. Each crewmember has pole-climbing training and experience, necessary when dealing with a shortage of vehicles and equipment due to the storm, which the Bahamas is experiencing.

CUC’s assistance was offered in conjunction with the Caribbean Electric Utility Services Corporation’s (CARILEC) disaster assistance programme (CDAP), which coordinates regional efforts to respond to requests for assistance from disaster-stricken member utilities. The programme is facilitated by the CARILEC disaster fund, which is indispensable to the successful implementation of disaster restoration efforts among the corporation’s member utilities.

Founded in 1989, CARILEC is a regional association of Caribbean electric utility companies and boasts 35 full members (public utilities), 63 associate members (suppliers of goods and services to the power industry) and four affiliate members. CUC has been a member since 1992.

Darren Ebanks, production engineer and chairman of CUC’s emergency preparedness committee, said as a company that has received assistance after experiencing hurricane damage in the past, CUC is always willing to help other utilities in the region.

“We realise that the Cayman Islands could have also have suffered severe devastation from Hurricane Matthew and we are very pleased that we can help the Bahamas to restore service to its customers,” Ebanks said. “We may someday need their assistance.”

It is understood that the greatest amount of damage occurred on New Providence, Grand Bahama and Andros islands where restoration efforts have been slowed due to flooding and fallen trees.

The CUC crew is scheduled to return to the Cayman Islands on 3 November.

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