Day long outage blamed on equipment failure

| 17/07/2015 | 46 Comments

(CNS): Grand Cayman’s power supplier has blamed a day long power cut Friday on equipment failure. The problem started on a section of the transmission line between the power plant on North Sound Road and the South Sound substation around 4:30 in the morning, CUC said, though CNS readers reported lost power well before 4am. The first customers affected by the blackout were those across the eastern side of the island from South Sound to North Side.

But as crews were working on the fault to bring the power back the problem in the transmission line affected the entire system, officials said. At around 5:45am power was lost across the whole island and all CUC’s 20,000 plus customers.

The power was eventually restored in a phased manner to ensure system stability, a spokesperson for CUC stated, but some customers were without power for more than twelve hours. Power was not restored to all users on Grand Cayman until almost 5pm, though most customers were connected by about 3:30 Friday afternoon, in many cases after at least 11 hours without power. However, a small section between the Hyatt building and the Ritz Carlton remained without power until 4:55pm.

“This was necessary to facilitate repairs to a damaged switch,” the monopoly power provider stated.  “CUC personnel have worked to restore power in a safe manner,” the firm added in a release, as it offered an apology “for the inconvenience caused to customers affected by this outage”.

Given that everyone was impacted for a minimum of six hours and much longer for many customers, local businesses were severely impacted and some were unable to open for the best part of the day, if at all.

CNS readers who were able to access the internet were livid as they all pointed to the high price consumers pay for their power supply and the massive inconvenience the day-long outage caused, from at best just spoiled food to the loss of thousands of dollars of business for many people, especially small business owners who do not have the luxury of a generator.

Readers also complained about CUC’s failure to explain the outage or keep customers informed about when they might expect their power to be returned.

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Comments (46)

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  1. MC Shy D says:

    This is a wake up call to Cayman we simply cannot keep importing more and more people into this very small little island and then complain about these type of issues and situations occurring, government obviously needs to curb its nasty work permit fees habit and stabilize this situation and tell CUC to either improve its output capacity and grid infrastructure or co partner with Dart and Solar power providers to increase and diversify of our power sources. This problem is now quickly passing a very critical point which will lead to other very serious and stressful situations.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh so this is the expats fault too is it? Hilarious.

      This is a wake up call the the wealthy investors and directors of CEC – stop taking the money and start investing it in infrastructure as is the responsibility of any utility company in any other country – they provide on the basis of future populations rather than try and force antiquated equipment to do a modern job far beyond its actual outdated capabilities. Its also a wake up call to the government – allow competition so that CUC does not have a monopoly on the services and has to improve its service, its equipments and its rates in order to fairly compete with others – then the Cayman people might finally get their moneys-worth.

      • Anonymous says:

        What antiquated equipment are you talking about. Ask cuc for a guided tour and get the facts.

        • Anonymous says:

          The whole infrastructure and approach is outdated. The lines and terminals to our houses are antiquated. The system cannot cope with the existing demand (and hasn’t done for years now – hence previous outages) and it most certainly is not structured to cope with future demands.

          I want bother explaining this as somebody with the requisite knowledge has done a perfect job of this already on other posts and on Viewpoint.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes 10.50, you are right! Throw the expats out! And then see how much your bills climb when you have to subsidize the CUC workforce and those that cannot or will not pay…. You win the Cayman Darwin prize..

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh please all pro and con expats just shut up with ya foolishness and learn how to co exist, without these stupid inane comments which serve no purpose. Enough is enough now.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What a bunch of moaners. Wussification writ large.

  3. Anonymous says:

    People should remember the rolling blackouts in California in the 80s. That was awful for them and it all turned out that Enron was manipulating that so they could raise the prices. Be careful people. Could CUC be doing the same to us? We should focus on getting our plans going for wind and solar power options. Man that sweetheart deal sure screwed us!!!

  4. RC Loves Cayman says:

    Your’ article states, “The problem started on a section of the transmission line between the power plant on North Sound Road and the South Sound substation around 4:30 in the morning, CUC said, though CNS readers reported lost power well before 4am.”

    As a retired executive at one of the largest electric utilities in the U.S., married to a Caymanian and having family scattered across the beautiful island of Cayman please allow me a response.

    CNS: The rest of this comment is posted here

  5. Anonymous says:

    So CUC what frivolous excuse you’re going to use this time, for the outage? I guess you all are going to blame those pesky green Iguanas again or maybe a new scapegoat this time, it was those pesky chickens that caused the outage. Those generators they have, as been around from the days of the dinosaurs and need to throw away, and invest is cleaner, and more efficient method of generating power. Come on CUC, in this day and age, why cant you deck out the plant with solar panels or some other cleaner energy generation instead of those toxic spewing, environment destroying diesel generators, that when their temperature reaches 150 degrees Fahrenheit or when twenty houses turns on their A/C(exaggerating here) , they shuts down? Come hear their frivolous excuse or reason why they cant do it, so that they could continue draining our pockets dry every month. The problem began in the sixties when electricity started to take root in these Islands, when the government at that time gave CUC the full control of providing electricity, they even thrown in fifty or one hundred years license as an gift, without them holding a majority share of the business and now the chicken has finally come home to roost (not those ones they are going to blame the outage on). If they had some shares in CUC, then we would have an greater say today and we could hold the government(s) more accountable, when CUC messes up or want to raise their kilowatts per hour (KPH) rates, which seems more like kilowatts per second.

    • Marcia says:

      What is most disturbing about CUC is that the residents of these Cayman Islands pay higher utilities than any other country in the world. We should have the best service in the world also. I don’t know how this is suppose to work but is it legally right for the public to stand the cost for every upgrade or damage CUC puts in place or has to repair? What is even worse and the real meaning of adding insult to injury is when CUC publish their year end profits. The entire infrastructure of the Cayman Islands is a joke and all designed to make the rich richer and one will wonder why crime is on a steady rise. By the way, who will pay for all the food I lost in my freezer? What? Am Listening!!!!!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Wonder if the power failure caused the electrical fault at China Village. Maybe something they need to look into.

  7. Anonymous says:

    What was most frustrating was the lack of any useful information on this most serious issue. CUC stop answering the phone. The ‘news ‘media were clueless. To call them journalists is an insult to the profession. The Premier was on radio Cayman talking about on and on about OMOV, whilst our businesses were loosing money, and the public is wholely without access to information.

    Just tell us the truth and stop wasting our time. I had 3 employees sitting in the hot sun waiting for hours for the power to go on. If we had accurate information the could have gone home, or to anywhere with a generator during the interim. Also I do not accept the BS explanation for the outage. For what we pay,and for what this cost businesses in the loss of revenue, someone in Government should grow a pair and tell us the truth about why this outage occured, and what is being done to insure it does not happen agsin.

  8. Anonymous says:

    We had such a laugh over CUC’s explanation of the reason for the blackout that it took almost an hour to mop up the pee.

  9. Anonymous says:

    “You have the Power” – errr, well, most of the time!.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Once, the government owned CUC, but then they privatised it..
    Hmm- who profitted from that great deal?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Mine is natural gas thank you very much. That was some cold a/c blowing Friday morning in the house and we were all snuggled up under our comforters with a nice hum from the Generac lulling us to sleep. Thanks Home Gas!!

  12. Anon says:

    To top it all after that outage for most of day the power in parts of west bay was out from 11 pm until 4 am this morning! It’s such a shame we have no choice ! CUC you are responsible for a very miserable 8 month pregnant lady with a toddler that did not sleep because he was so hot! I really hope you are proud ! * tears of frustration after no sleep and long powerless day*

    • Anonymous says:

      Should have used a generator then.

      • anon says:

        due to strata rules i am not allowed one! but thanks for the unhelpful comment – i didn’t think of that being a responsible parent. duh

        • Anonymous says:

          You do know the children gestated quite happily long before AC came along and that you are being melodramatic?

  13. Anonymous says:

    CUC states the obvious in carefully worded press release…………..snooze on

  14. Reality Cheque says:

    CUC owns the government so try hush! So their will be no meaningful improvements to the electrical grid’s capacity so long as they have this monopoly. So stop this burden on our electricity grid by reducing the strain on our already overburden infrastructure. Curb the government’s addiction to work permit fees thereby keeping a sustainable consumption rate by consumers. If we can’t meet the demands of 57,000 plus person now what do you think will happen when you add on an additional 10,000 people?

    • Anonymous says:

      So hew is that possible?

    • Anonymous says:

      Hilarious – fix the problem by getting rid of all those expats – not a word about CUC execs pocketing all the profit and spending nothing on improving their most outdated equipment.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I think that CUC should give ALL customers a 5% discount on next month’s bill. I would consider that a fair reimbursement.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hold your breath on the 5% discount…turn back to 2004 Hurricane Ivan when they were still charging the monthly bills even though we didn’t have an electricity. And government allowed them to do that

    • Anonymous says:

      Do not kid yourself. They will raise our rates to cover their FU, and never admit any fault. Govt. Will do nothing, once again. Another day in paradise.

  16. Anonymous says:

    what do you expect when we generate electricity like a 3rd world backwater….?

    • Anonymous says:

      For years CUC’s stock argument against solar power and wind power has been that the sun never shines at night and the wind doesn’t blow every day. The implication being that only their diesel-generated power was 100% reliable. Moral – when you let half-wits like that run a vital public utility expect problems.

  17. Fighting Iguana says:

    CUC please focus on a more reliable an efficient power grid instead of your preferred share holders dividends and in return the government need to kick its very nasty habit of putting this terrible strain on our infrastructure by issuing too many work permits. Thanks a Voter!

  18. Anonymous says:

    well i´ve enjoyed my extra day off….thx CUC!! 😉

  19. Anonymous says:

    A catastrophic failure usually causes such a grid collapse. This can sometimes occur in a generating unit, but the fact that CUC has spinning reserve to cover their biggest unit, I would say that the failure was not directly in a unit, but rather in a subsystem that services more than one unit or in the distribution system such as the 13kV or 69kV substations.

    There will probably be some heavily fried, once-molten equipment at CUC right now.

    Big iron machines producing power is like getting truth from a televangelist. Loads of conditions for the light, very demanding, dirty and downright deceptive.

    Turn to solar. The truth is in the Light.

  20. Crimea Rivers says:

    Deal with it.

  21. Anonymous says:

    CUC, why do you overcharging, unscrupulous, dividend hoarding, money wasting monopoly have to lie about what time your service went down?

    I got up at 1:00am to get a drink of water and there was power in my house; I woke up at 3:10am to take a pi** and had to feel my way to the bathroom. You know exactly what time between 1am and 3:10am the power went off and you chose to lie about it to your captive customers! Shame on you!

    • Anonymous says:

      The power went off at about 12:38am, then came back on, so the problems began then, after that probably 4 it was completely off, so yes you are right they aren’t giving us the correct information, what made it worse no announcement till after 7 and not much of one…lets hope there won’t be a repeat tomorrow morning

    • Anonymous says:

      @ 8:04 pm I do not know where you live and at what time you lost power,but I do know that the power went out at my home in Newlands at 4:30am ( I was awake at the time). At about 5:45 am the power returned for less than a minute, and then was gone until 12:20 pm

  22. Anonymous says:

    But so many of you are always bitching about the poor quality of the civil service (fair enough ) in contrast to “if they had to work in the private sector/this sort of service would lead to firings in the private sector (yeah right!) /this would not be allowed in the private sector” etc etc ad nauseam ad infinitum. I am not defending poor service in the civil service but I am simply pointing out that this was a disgraceful third world service from the “perfect” private sector which all of us who use banks, insurance companies, CUC, LIME etc know is all too common and NOT confined to the civil service. The power cut was bad enough but their customer service in dealing with it was ABYSMAL as is that of much of the “sacred” private sector.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s odd as from experience they seem to be above the immigration law. Maybe they used the same threat with government as the financial services used about taking their business elsewhere.

  23. Anonymous says:

    That darn iguana struck again!

    • Island girl says:

      You know the saddest thing about the power outage is the reaction of the public. We loose power for a day and almost all of the public is losing their minds. I wonder what all of you would do if something really traumatic happened. come on get a hold of yourselves. In the scheme of things this was only a little ripple – imagine the people in Iraq and other places who have been struggling for years without utilities and water. Next time go to the Yacht Club and hang out. They are on the airport grid and among the first to get power back up.

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