(CNS): Grand Cayman’s power providers has called in experts in order to help address technical problems with its Bodden Town circuit. CUC told CNS that the BT15 circuit that feeds the Northward and Lower Valley areas has sustained seven full circuit outages this year and five of them were in June and one in July. CNS Readers have expressed their concern over the frequency and duration of the outages and have questioned whether they face another month of electricity supply problems after another cut over the holiday weekend.
Apologizing to customers in the area, a spokesperson for CUC said that outages were all due to under-frequency after a trip of one of the new units due to a communications error on the control system of the engine.
“Our partners MAN have been troubleshooting on site and have called in additional expertise with two specialists arriving on island earlier this week to resolve this issue,” a statement from the firm read. “CUC will be rotating the BT15 circuit off the under-frequency list and until the issue is resolved will run the two new units at lower loads to reduce need for backup capacity should they trip.”
The power provider revealed that in addition to a 14-minute outage in the area in April, there was a ten minute outage at 11:40 pm on 6 June, a 19 minute cut on 10 June at around 6:20pm, and a 16 minute outage just after midnight on 12 June, with another ten minute outage in the morning of 19 June. But on 29 June the power was cut for over 50 minutes in the early morning hours, followed by another 22 minute outage on 3 July at lunchtime.
One CNS reader expressed the frustration suffered by herself, her family and neighbours and implied that the power cuts were more frequent and longer than acknowledged by CUC, claiming that the outages had been at least three times a week lasting between 15 minutes and two hours at a time.
Pointing out that the power outages go beyond the inconvenience of not having lights or A/C and fans during the hot weather, she told CNS that she also relies on a pump for her well, leaving her without water during the cuts as well.
She also said she had security concerns as one of the cuts happened while her electronically controlled garage door was up, leaving her standing guard until the power came back on to close it again. Another morning outage prevented her from getting the car out when she needed to go to work.
The worried reader also said the cuts were much more serious for some of her friends, family and neighbours, as she pointed to an elderly relative with a heart condition who needs to have oxygen at night, so the loss of power is medically dangerous.
“I’m sure she’s not the only one in that sort of situation,” she said. “CUC needs to get this fixed,” the frustrated reader told us.
She has also complained to the ERA but has had no response about her complaint.
Bodden Town was not the only district to suffer frequent outages last month, as there have been cuts in other districts. Richard Hew, the president of CUC, said that there had been several outages as the firm’s new generator was fired up and commissioned into action, but he said the firm had identified the teething problems and customers could now look forward to far fewer cuts.
Despite those reassurances, however, as temperatures are particularly hot at present, CUC residential customers in particular appear to still be facing random power outages causing significant inconvenience.