‘Procedural error’ leads to islandwide blackout

Saturday, August 27, 2016

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Jamaica was plunged into darkness late yesterday evening from what the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) reported was a "procedural error".

"It was a procedural error that resulted in the generating units going off line," JPS’ Director, Corporate Communications Winsome Callum told the Jamaica Observer last night.

At 8:45 pm when the Sunday Observer spoke to Callum she said that power had been restored to Western Jamaica "from Westmoreland all the way round to Trelawny".

She also said that electricity service had been restored in sections of Clarendon, St Catherine and Kingston.

Callum said that the company expected to restore power to all sections of the island "within a few hours" but it was difficult to give a time when the process would be completed.

Shortly after the power went, the police announced that they had deployed personnel to assist where necessary and said people should look out for the blue flashing lights on patrol vehicles.

The police also advised the public to exercise caution and to drive carefully on the roads, especially when approaching major intersections.

"We are also urging residents to remain inside their homes as much as possible until electricity is restored," the police said.

In Half-Way-Tree, one of the busiest commercial hubs in St Andrew, some stores remained open as they were being powered by generators. Others, however, had to close.

A woman who gave her name only as Trudy and who runs the 20/20 Beauty Salon in Park Plaza, was furious about the power outage.

"It affect mi a whole lot because mi have mi pickney dem back-to-school fi tek care of and mi haffi send mi client dem home," she said.

"Di one likkle day weh wi get fi work, no light. Mi did have a lot of clients inna di shop. A slackness dis," she fumed.

Jermaine Johnson, who operates a clothing store in Half-Way-Tree, said he lost a lot of business. He told the Sunday Observer that he resorted to taking some of the goods outside his shop, placed them on a bench and used the headlights on his car to conduct business.

Another man, who gave his name only as Kevin, said he had to close his clothing store downtown Kingston.

"I lost a lot of business," he complained, as he explained that he would normally make the bulk of his sales late on a Saturday evening.

"This evening was going on good as people were doing back-to-school shopping," he said.

In April this year, the island was affected by a massive power outage. At the time, JPS said that several of its generating units went offline simultaneously, resulting in the loss of electricity for some customers.

The company stated that several of the affected areas were restored within a few minutes of the power outage, while other customers were gradually connected to the power grid in phases.

The power system was back to normal in just over three hours.





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