Friday 21 September, 2018

Trees proving to be a "nuisance" for BL&P

(File Photo)

(File Photo)

Mother nature in all her beauty continues to affect the ability of the Barbados Light Power (BL&P) to maintain consistent service to customers.  

Managing Director of BL&P, Roger Blackman said for 2017, trees have been the main contributor of outages in the network. He said most of the issues have been weather-related as a result of high winds and heavy rains which cause the branches of the trees to be blown onto the power lines.  

Blackman noted that today "customers are far less tolerant" of outages than they were in the past and fot this reason the BL&P maintenance team is forced to be out in the field on a regular basis to keep trees under control.  

"Over the last year we have been doing significant work on vegetation management. We have an idea on where the troublesome trees are on the network, we have contractors who are out there literally daily, tackling the issue for us." 

Blackman said this "nuisance factor" had resulted in one feeder in St. Thomas being the "worst performing feeder" due to the overgrowth of trees.  

He said the situation is being closely monitored by the BL&P and so far for 2018 the program of tree maintenance has been working well.  

Fortunately for customers, Blackman said, in the event of an outage, whether island-wide or isolated, the meters stay still so the customer does not generate any charges on their monthly bill during that time. He noted this was an issue with some customers who were concerned about compensation from the company when they experience outages. 

Blackman also said third party damage, such as vehicles hitting poles or trucks pulling down power lines, has also been a major headache for the utility company although it is not as persistent a problem as the trees.