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Water, light, still a problem

John Sealy

Water, light, still a problem

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BARBADIANS spent another day hoping that it would be their turn to have access to water and light; two utilities that attract most attention and debate even in good times. But many of them would still have to wait a few days before life goes back to how they know it.
The lack of water and light became a rude reality for thousands of  Barbadians after Tropical storm Tomas, the 19th tropical system for 2010 paid an early morning visit, wrapping itself around the 166-square-mile country with furious disdain on Saturday.
But 72 hours on, with water and light still unreachable commodities to large numbers of residents, the utility companies, Barbados Water Authority  (BWA) and Barbados Light& Power (BL&P), find themselves in a defensive mode.
Said a release from the BWA: “Barbados Water Authority’s management has been reviewing the status of its operations and is pleased to report that power has been restored to a number of its pumping stations. As a result several areas that were without water are now being serviced.”The release assured its customers, “in the meanwhile water tankers have been dispatched to those areas without water. It may take some time for the tankers to reach all areas”.
The power company also reported that it was working tirelessly up to late last night to restore supply to customers following Tomas’ visit.
In putting the magnitude of the task at hand in perspective the Light & Power’s release said Tomas was probably one of the strongest storms to hit Barbados since Hurricane Janet in 1955 (and) “did extensive damage to the electricity network”.
“Light & Power has placed priority on restoring the main feeder lines and providing supply to critical services on the island, including water pumping stations operated by the BWA.  
By the end of the evening, (yesterday) only seven of the company’s 58 feeders remained out of service. However, many customers would have still been without supply as distribution lines and transformers feeding these customers would still need  to be reconnected.”