Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales has promised to provide swift compensation to North Coast residents who recently had to dump Christmas food supplies after enduring four days of no electricity.
Over five villages along the North Coast region had their electricity supply cut on Sunday after a large tree in the forested area between Santa Cruz and the North Coast Road in Maracas came down on power lines, causing significant damage to T&T Electricity Commission (T&TEC’s) infrastructure.
The power outage affected villages of Maracas, La Cuevas, La Fillette and Blanchisseuse as many residents had to throw away a variety of spoiled meats and perishable food supplies stored in freezers and refrigerators which they purchased for the festive Christmas season.
Many residents also wondered if they would have faced a dark Christmas.
Despite working around the clock to restore power, T&TEC crews could not access the fallen lines due to the difficult terrain, forcing them to bring in a generator to provide customers without temporary electricity.
But by 6pm Wednesday, electricty was restored to many parts of the affected communities.
Yesterday, Gonzales along with officials of T&TEC and MP for St Ann’s East Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly visited the affected communities to get a first-hand view of the work being done.
“The situation is almost resolved. We are expecting power to be returned this afternoon,” Gonzales told Guardian Media in a Whatsapp message.
“There are standby units currently providing electricity to 95 per cent of the affected communities.”
Questioned if residents will be compensated for their losses, Gonzales said T&TEC was, “currently doing social surveys on the ground to assess the loses to compensate the affected customers. The GM (general manager) of T&TEC, Kelvin Ramsook has assured that this process will be expedited to assist the customers.”
Gonzales could not say how much losses residents suffered, stating that “the surveys will determine the extent.”
Gonzales admitted that the incident was an “unprecedented event that required an unprecedented response”, as he thanked the T&TEC crews who worked around the clock to resolve the issue.
“The terrain was treacherous for (T&TEC) teams and it was a difficult undertaking to restore the damaged lines.”
Apologising to those affected by the inconvenience caused, Gonzales said he has also been communicating with the Water and Sewerage Authority to ensure that these communities get a water supply which was also affected by the absence of electricity.
In a Facebook post yesterday, Gadsby-Dolly also apologised to residents who experienced “extended discomfort” and also assured of compensation to those affected.