IT MATTERS TO MARIA: Pleasant View folk fear dim future
A POWER OUTAGE that lasted 30 hours has a resident at Pleasant View Terrace, St Michael, feeling uneasy about the electrical supply in the area.
Ahmed Patel is one of the longest inhabitants of the district, which is a popular abode for overseas students studying at the nearby University of the West Indies.
He surmises that the electrical supply needs upgrading urgently.
“This development took place in the ’60s before Independence,” Patel said, adding that the electrical supply was installed underground and ran from residents’ backyards to a transformer.
“The current that people are using now is ten times more than what they would’ve used in the ’60s. There is need for an upgrade.”
As for the power outage, he said it began on May 16 between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m.
“At 2 a.m, I called Light & Power and they said the power outage was isolated to Pleasant View, but they did not know where the transformer was. I told them I could show them where it is and they came around 6:30 the next morning.”
The workers then reported that they would have to reset the transformer but Patel said he quickly informed them he did not think that would solve the problem.
“I told them in my opinion it was much more than a transformer. They said they would do what they have to do and that is reset the transformer. They did that and when they switched on the electricity, it only lasted for a second.”
It was then that the workers informed him that a new transformer would have to be installed.
Again he raised a red flag but he said the workers told him he would have to speak to a senior official at Barbados Light & Power (BL&P) about his concerns and provided him with the contact information for that person.
“I called but I did not get through to the person,” Patel said.
However, he revealed that a young engineer then came to the area and after some more work was done, that engineer hit him with some bad news.
“He told me that the situation was much more serious than they thought. He said that when they went to connect the transformer, they discovered all the wires were burned up and they needed to get a temporary connection where the transformer was. They asked me if I knew the owner of the land which was behind the transformer.”
Patel said he managed to get hold of the owner of the unoccupied land and after explaining the situation to her, she agreed to let the utility company instal the supply temporarily.
After that was done, the electricity was restored.
However, Patel lamented that residents of Pleasant View had been in the dark since about BL&P’s plans for the area and he was afraid there could be another power outage.
After trying unsuccessfully to get through to the official whose name was given to him both by phone and email, Patel said he finally resorted to calling the Fair Trading Commission.
“In no time the gentleman contacted me. He said he was not responsible for this area but he would get the engineer to call me shortly. This is eight days and I have not heard from the engineer or from anyone from Light & Power.”
He recalled that 15 years ago, a resident who lived on another street in the area was expanding his home and BL&P installed a number of electric poles on that street. That was why, he pointed out, that half of the area had electrical poles and the other half did not.
In addition, he said about ten years ago the telephone company also realised there would be a major issue with utilising the underground supply and installed poles in the expanding development so there would be an adequate supply of telephone lines.
“We, the residents of Pleasant View, want to know what they are doing about a permanent connection. It can’t be underground to the existing one because the cables are between two lots, so everybody’s connection is at the back of their house. It would be impossible to get tractors in to dig; eventually they would still have to get a permanent connection on the road,” he said.
He feared that a next burnout might be on the horizon.
“The next [one] could be major and we may not get electricity for a long time. Today is four weeks that they ain’t come back. Light &Power knew 15 years ago that Pleasant View needed upgrading. They knew the supply was not adequate and that was why they installed the poles on the other street.
“Nobody has come to check on us. All the residents at Pleasant View are old people, over 60; one or two might be over 50 and the remainder are students who go to the University of the West Indies.”
I spoke to an official at BL&P’s communications department on Friday who indicated he would get an engineer to address the matter. (MB)