CUC has SMB, West Bay wired

Caribbean Utilities Company is in the process of installing new overhead transmission lines to improve reliability in the West Bay/Seven Mile Beach area.

The new plans include 27 transmission poles to run to the west of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway.

West Bay and the Seven Mile Beach were reliant on four 69kv circuits but due to Hurricane Ivan’s wrath that area was only left with two circuits to meet the supply demands. The substation by the West Bay Fire Station is due to be written off. The poles along the Mosquito Research Control Unit canals were severely damaged by the Category 5 storm.

A submarine cable is assisting with meeting supply demands.

The submarine cable laid in 2001 in the North Sound is responsible for a transmission loop to West Bay and North Side.

CUC Chief Executive Officer Richard Hew said, ‘If CUC would have lost the submarine cable they could not have met electricity demands in West Bay.’

CUC, the Roads Authority and Public Works Department decided to relocate the line because narrow roads and occasional flooding made it hard to access.

‘The Seven Mile Beach and West Bay Road in particular are not operating with the same level of reliability that we are used to,’ Mr. Hew said.

He said CUC is working diligently to get the additional circuits back on line.

‘We have the fact that customers are coming back on line. The summer season is approaching as well. This all adds more load to the already stress line; so we have to get those additional circuits in place,’ he said.

‘If we have a failure in any one circuit it could mean extended outages in that area. Also, when all our customers come back on – Fosters Food Fair at the Strand and the Hyatt on the North Sound side – they are going to put an additional load on the line,’ Mr. Hew said.

He said putting a line under ground is not an option.

‘Under grounding is very expensive. We have done this in some areas when we can share the cost with the developer. It is six to eight times the cost of overhead lines.’

‘We will be looking at putting our high voltage lines, such as 69kv, underground in the future. However, that will be done over a period of time to spread the cost, so there is not a great impact on the consumer. Plus time is working against us in this case,’ he said.

Mr. Hew said the line was being placed on the west side of the road to accommodate another two traffic lanes in the future.

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