Seven local power line technicians and technician helpers have joined teams on the ground in the Bahamas assisting with hurricane relief efforts.
The men, all employees of the Caribbean Utilities Company’s Transmission and Distribution Operations department, left for the Abaco Islands on Friday, according to a CUC statement.
They will be assisting the Bahamas Power and Light Company Ltd. with the restoration of power following the passing of Hurricane Dorian in September.
The hurricane left a widespread trail of destruction in its wake, including the deaths of at least 50 people. Thousands were rendered homeless.
CUC said the power line technicians and helpers are expected to be in the Abaco Islands for approximately three weeks.
The crew, led by work methods specialist Andrew Skowby, includes; Shandi Wagner, Evan Casey, Miguel Goulbourne, Nathaniel Augustine, Christopher Ebanks and Patrick Myrie. They are expected to return to Cayman next month.
The deployment of the CUC team is the latest contribution from Cayman to ongoing relief efforts in the Bahamas. Cayman also dispatched two medical teams and 4,000 pounds of aid supplies to the impacted islands.
CUC said a number of the technicians dispatched on Friday have pole climbing training, pole digging and pole planting experience; skills, which the company said, “are necessary when dealing with a shortage of vehicles, equipment and materials due to the storm, which the Bahamas is currently experiencing”.
Robert Whorms, manager of the company’s Transmission and Distribution Operations department, said CUC is aware of the urgent need to restore electricity in the affected islands.
“We are very pleased that we are able to provide support in the aftermath of this recent tragedy. Our dedicated team of employees are well prepared and take pride in representing CUC and the Cayman Islands alongside other utilities in the relief efforts,” he said.
CUC said its assistance was offered in conjunction with the Caribbean Electric Utility Services Corporation’s Disaster Assistance Programme, which coordinates regional efforts to respond to requests for assistance from disaster-stricken member utilities.
“CUC has been assisting with restoration efforts in the Caribbean since 1995 and last assisted the Bahamas with restoration efforts following the passing of Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. In 2017, CUC assisted with restoration efforts in the British Virgin Islands following the passing of Hurricanes Irma and Maria,” the company said in its statement.
CARILEC is a regional association of Caribbean electric utility companies and currently has 106 members. It was founded in 1989.
This includes 35 full members (electric utilities), 66 associate members (suppliers of goods and services to the electric utility industry) and four affiliate members. CUC has been a member since 1992.
The CARILEC Disaster Assistance Programme is facilitated by the CARILEC Disaster Fund, which is indispensable to the successful implementation of disaster restoration efforts among CARILEC Member utilities.