Freak lightning stems power

Hundreds of homes, offices and businesses across Grand Cayman were left without power on Friday after what is presumed to be a freak lightning strike to a CUC transmission pole.

The resulting outage led to a cascade of blackouts across George Town, West Bay and East End, leading to snarled traffic as workers ventured out onto the roads en masse for an unexpected break.

At approximately 11.30am, a CUC employee sitting inside the CUC headquarters witnessed a flash where a nearby transmission pole was located and numerous others heard a loud explosion, CUC spokeswoman Caren Thompson explained.

The suspected strike caused a high-voltage transmission line to break, causing a disruption to the circuits it served.

The broken 13KV power line then fell into a lower voltage distribution line directly below it, causing that circuit to also trip and causing outages to a further group of customers.

The initial incident left a large part of downtown George Town, including the Glass House and areas along the transmission line’s route along North Sound Road without power.

Ms Thompson said the break in the transmission line also caused a secondary temporary power outage when generators feeding power to West Bay and East End and a wider part of George Town automatically shut down when sensors detected a circuit problem.

CUC dispatched nine crews to switch the distribution lines of affected sectors onto unaffected transmission lines, and repairing the damaged wires.

Power was fully restored by 2pm.